Justin Bieber's court cases on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border might not just lead to more scrutiny by judges and prosecutors, but could also complicate the pop star's jet-setting ways.
Legal experts said the decision by Toronto authorities to charge Bieber with assault on Wednesday makes the singer's legal situation more complicated and difficult to untangle. He is already facing a driving under the influence case in Florida, and remains under investigation for felony vandalism in Los Angeles County.
Bieber's cases are in the early stages and there are no guarantees that the Grammy-nominated singer will be convicted of any charges. But if he is, it will impact how judges view and sentence him, said Stanley L. Friedman, a former federal prosecutor who now practices criminal defense in Los Angeles.
"I think the legal system is much more likely to treat him harshly as somebody who needs to be taught a lesson,'' "Now he's become a national poster child for being a bad boy.''
Andrew Flier, a criminal defense attorney who's represented sports stars and actors, said immigration issues are likely Bieber's biggest problem at this point. If the singer is convicted in one or both cases, he could receive additional scrutiny when traveling from his homeland, Canada to the United States, where Bieber currently lives.
"Multiple convictions even on misdemeanors could be troublesome to the non-citizen,'' Flier said.
Bieber, 19, has pleaded not guilty to DUI, resisting arrest without violence and driving without a valid license in the Miami case. A preliminary toxicology report released Thursday showed that Bieber tested positive for marijuana and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. The report shows no presence of other illicit drugs in Bieber's system, such as cocaine or oxycodone. Bieber told police after the arrest that he had been smoking marijuana and took a prescription drug.
The singer also remains under investigation for an egg-tossing incident that left his neighbor's house with thousands of dollars in damage. If Bieber is charged in that case, a California judge may look at the singer more harshly in light of the Florida and Toronto cases, said Stan Goldman, a criminal law professor at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.
"The fact that you've got three is a heck of a lot worse than one,'' Goldman said.
Friedman agreed, and said Bieber's other cases may make it more likely that the singer will be charged in Los Angeles. Prosecutors have a lot of discretion in