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Will Pic of Justin Bieber Smoking Pot Lead to Charges?

By Deanne Katz, Esq. | Last updated on

Looks like Justin Bieber's squeaky-clean image is falling apart, especially given the pictures that indicate the teen pop sensation was (gasp!) smoking pot.

Photographs of Bieber at a hotel-room party last week shows the Biebs sitting around with some friends and a few empty beer bottles. Keep in mind that Bieber is only 18, and the pictures were reportedly taken in Newport Beach, California, where the legal drinking age is 21.

But the question on everyone's mind is: What's in the cigarette that Justin Bieber is clearly holding between his fingers? Could its contents lead to an arrest?

It doesn't help the situation that the pictures are from a day after a paparazzo was killed while stalking Bieber's Ferrari. The photographer claimed he saw Bieber smoking pot behind the wheel shortly before he died.

Sources indicate that there was marijuana at the party and that rapper Lil Twist, a friend of Bieber, was rolling blunts, according to TMZ. But is that enough to bring charges?

If prosecutors want to charge someone for drug possession, then they need proof that the suspect actually had drugs on his person or in his control. The photograph alone doesn't do anything to establish that.

What the photograph could do is give police enough evidence to request a search warrant from a judge. To get a warrant, police need probable cause that a crime was committed.

With a warrant, investigators may be able to search the hotel room or Bieber's possessions. But the chance of finding anything useful is low.

Even if Bieber did possess pot in the photo, the chances that he keeps it around for police to find is low. Evidence of marijuana in the hotel room wouldn't necessarily tie the drug to Bieber.

Of course this isn't the first time a celebrity has been caught in a compromising position with alleged drugs. Back in 2009, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was caught taking a hit off a bong and made a statement about his "regrettable actions."

That incident led to several arrests, but those all involved people who were at the party where the pictures were taken, reports Columbia, South Carolina's WIS-TV.

Police obtained a search warrant and were able to get additional evidence to make arrests. But Phelps wasn't among the people with cuffs on. Presumably police couldn't get enough evidence to link him to drug use.

So long as Justin Bieber doesn't say something he'll later regret about his alleged pot-smoking pic, there's a good chance police won't have enough evidence to pin anything on him. As for that good-boy image, it's long gone.

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