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MIAMI – Trial was delayed Wednesday until July for pop star Justin Bieber on driving under the influence and other charges after his lawyers asked for more time to examine evidence and discuss whether to accept a possible plea deal.
Bieber attorney Roy Black initially asked for a 60-day delay from the previous May 5 trial date, but Miami-Dade County Judge William Altfield extended the postponement even further, to July 7.
“I want to give everyone plenty of time,” Altfield said at a brief hearing.
Bieber was not present. Prosecutors Daniel Diaz-Balart and Juan Perez said they had no objection to a trial delay.
The 20-year-old singer was arrested Jan. 23 in Miami Beach after what police described as an illegal street drag race between Bieber’s rented Lamborghini and a Ferrari driven by R&B singer Khalil Amir Sharieff. Neither was charged with drag racing, but both were charged with DUI. Bieber was also charged with resisting arrest without violence and driving with an expired license.
Both have pleaded not guilty, although Bieber told police he had been smoking marijuana that night, according to a Miami Beach police report.
Alcohol breath tests found Bieber’s level to be below the 0.02 limit for underage drivers. Urine tests showed the presence of marijuana and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system, and a video of police sobriety tests showed Bieber walking unsteadily.
Black said if the case proceeds to trial, he would likely challenge some of the tests and the results, although he would not discuss details.
“There are some serious matters regarding the testing,” Black said.
Black told Altfield that one reason for the case’s slow pace is that all decisions must be made at the “executive suite” level in the Bieber camp.
Most defendants in Bieber’s position eventually accept plea deals rather than going to trial, which could expose him to stiffer penalties including jail time. Black said it was premature to discuss which way Bieber would go.
“Those decisions have not been made,” he said.
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