Remember that high-speed car chase Justin Bieber was involved in earlier this month? Photographer Paul Raef, 30, is now facing criminal charges for the July 6 incident, which include reckless driving with the intent to capture pictures for commercial gain, reckless driving, failure to obey a peace officer, and following another vehicle too closely. He's the first person charged under a 2010 California law aimed at keeping the paparazzi from causing dangers to others, according to the Associated Press. The photog faces up to one year in county jail and $3,500 in fines.
During the chase, Raef in a Toyota SUV chased Bieber's silver Fisker Karma on the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley outside L.A. He drove more than 80 miles per hour, drove on the shoulder, and cut people off when changing lanes. Police were alerted to the chase when Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine and three other drivers called 911 to report it. Officers directed both cars to pull over, but only Bieber stopped. Just 30 minutes later, the pop star himself called 911 to say he was being followed again. Raef was identified after police found the SUV with the same license plate as the one in the chase in a downtown L.A. parking garage filled with paparazzi.
Celebrities have long argued that photographers are too aggressive, but they often depend on them to keep them in the news. In Bieber's situation, as Zine explained later, the 18-year-old didn't make the best choice in continuing to drive. "Any time you do 90, the paparazzi are going to go 90," he told the L.A. Times. "[Bieber] was going from the fast lane to the slow lane to the shoulder in traffic. It was a very dangerous driving situation. I figured someone was going to crash, so I called 911."
As for Bieber, he got a ticket for driving more than 80 mph in a 65 mph zone and driving recklessly. The "Boyfriend" singer will probably post a response on his Twitter account any moment ... or maybe he's too excited about the big night ahead of him to even pay attention. A clip of his video for "As Long As You Love Me" is set to debut Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC's "America's Got Talent."
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