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Justin Bieber may face immigration problems after DUI arrest

Singing star Justin Bieber could possibly face more than DUI and reckless driving penalties after his arrest on Jan. 23 in Florida for drag racing while allegedly under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Some legal experts have speculated that the 19-year-old celebrity's immigration status may also be called into question. Bieber is living in the United States on a work-related visa, and some observers feel that the Canadian citizen may even be deported.

Bieber's latest brush with the law occurred when he was stopped by police in Miami Beach after allegedly taking part in a street race while behind the wheel of a rented Lamborghini. Officers say that they smelled alcohol on the singer's breath and that he was belligerent and abusive when questioned. Bieber subsequently admitted to the officers that he had consumed alcohol, smoked marijuana and taken prescription medication prior to his traffic stop.

The singer is in the United States on a special type of visa granted to artists, but he is not considered an immigrant for immigration purposes. This essentially means that the Canadian can be physically removed from the United States by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if his behavior is deemed to have been serious enough. While DUI charges are often reduced for first-time offenders, the fact that Bieber is under Florida's minimum legal age for drinking might make such an accommodation less likely.

The facts of this case demonstrate that even wealth and celebrity status do not change one's standing under the law. Obtaining legal permission to live and work in the United States can be a challenging and frustrating process, and any misstep can have profound consequences. An attorney with experience in this area may be able to advise those with questions regarding the immigration process about the most prudent way to pursue their long-term residency goals.

Source: FOX 4, "Can Justin Bieber be deported after arrest in Miami Beach?", Dave Culbreth, January 23, 2014

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