Criminal Double Standards: Why Celebrities Can’t Remain Above the Law


Justin Bieber was arrested two days ago for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. You probably heard about it.

News of the arrest led to widespread celebration/hysterical sobbing into custom-made Bieber pillows. He has since been granted bail after appearing before a Miami court on a video link from jail, with the bail being set at $2,500. Working on the basis of his $58 million earnings last year, he would only have had to wait approximately 23 minutes before he could pay that back. The BBC reported that, once outside the prison, he climbed on top of a car to wave to an assembled crowd of fans.

Source; Miami Beach Police Twitter
Source; Miami Beach Police Twitter

Bieber’s mugshot has been doing the rounds since his arrest, and it’s an infuriating sight. An urge to wipe that smug grin off his face is understandable, but look past that first wave of emotion to see what that smile really means. That is the smile of a man who knows he will almost certainly suffer zero consequences because of this.

This isn’t Bieber’s first brush with the law: as of late, it’s becoming a fairly common occurrence. But will he see jail time for this? It’s very unlikely, even considering his past offences. In Florida, first-time DUI offenders are usually given up to six months imprisonment, but, as happens far too often, Bieber will probably get a pass because of his fame and receive a far more lenient sentence.

Bieber was drag-racing at the time he was arrested, going twice the speed limit in a residential area with an expired driving licence. In 2012, 697 people died as a result of drink-driving accidents in the state of Florida, and there were 12,016 cases of injury as a result of alcohol-related crashes. Despite this, the hashtag #FreeBieber was trending on Twitter following his arrest. What possible reason does this irresponsible teenager have to avoid punishment for a crime that, in other circumstances, could have led to property damage, injury, or worse?

Celebrities are treated as if they are above the law. Frequently, the rich and famous are exempt from the same set of rules the rest of society are held to, and it sets a dangerous precedent to treat them differently. Domestic abuse charges levelled against Sean Penn were dropped after he was arrested. Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil killed his passenger while drink driving and left two others involved in the incident in hospital, but was only sentenced to 30 days in prison, of which he served 20. Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl called Lori Maddox who had to be kept in his house away from her parents so that word didn’t get out. Allegations aimed at R. Kelly and Woody Allen have resurfaced recently concerning illegal relations with underage girls. The list, troublingly, goes on.

Personally, I can’t stand Bieber. ‘Self-entitled little shit’ would sum up my opinion of him fairly accurately. Regardless of your personal feelings about him, however, it is inarguable that he should face the same punishment as anybody else would for this. He drove drunk and under the influence of drugs. For him to walk away from that unscathed is to make a mockery of the legal system.


Editor and MA English student. Follow on Twitter @SamEverard1

Discussion5 Comments

  1. avatar

    What I found infuriating was all the tweets that said Beiber wasn’t doing something wrong because DUI apparently means ‘drinking under the influence’ to these children who have no idea the real implications of his actions. If I didn’t like Beiber before I like him even less now

  2. avatar

    I like the way you feel about beiber.

    ‘Self-entitled shit’.

    Pretty much sums up my feelings about the author. He seems to think we care what his opinion is

    David MW

    It’s an opinion piece. Stick to news if you don’t want to see an opinion.

  3. avatar

    You realize bail just means he’s not in jail between being detained and the trial and paying doesn’t prevent him from being convicted and sent to prison, being fined or deported etc. Probably will get off but he hasn’t got away with it yet. Also 60 in a 30, can’t even speed properly

    Sam Everard

    Yes, I know what bail means. I just don’t think anything will come of it, he’ll get some community service and that’s about it.

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