Bruce Springsteen’s November DWI arrest came after he had one shot of liquor

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This is horrible to admit, but when I saw the “Bruce Springsteen busted for DWI” headlines, I didn’t even read the story. I just thought “he’s the Boss, I bet he wasn’t plastered.” I know that’s terrible, that my first instinct was to immediately find a way to excuse a famous white dude. That’s how we’ve gotten into all of this. Turns out, it’s way more complicated than I even imagined. Bruce was charged with a DWI in New Jersey last November, but the circumstances around his arrest are… ridiculous.

Bruce Springsteen was allegedly busted in Sandy Hook, New Jersey when he pulled over to take pictures with fans — and then took a shot of tequila offered by one of them in full view of the cops, a music industry insider said.

The “Born to Run” icon, 71, had been riding his motorcycle on the peninsula on Nov. 14 when he “was spotted by fans who asked him to pull over and take some pictures,” according to a source close to Springsteen.

“Bruce stopped, took the pictures, then a fan offered him a shot of liquor, which he took, while sitting on his bike, which was stationary,” the source said. “Park Police saw what happened and they immediately pulled Springsteen over as he drove away.”

The Post has not been able to immediately verify this account with law enforcement. Springsteen was charged with DWI, reckless driving and consuming alcohol in a closed area, a spokesperson for the National Park Service said. The Asbury Park Press reported Springsteen’s blood-alcohol content was 0.02 — just a quarter of New Jersey’s legal limit — when he was arrested.

The legal threshold in New Jersey is .08, which the outlet said calls into question why Springsteen was charged with driving while intoxicated.

News of the bust broke just days after Springsteen appeared in and narrated a Super Bowl spot for Jeep, in which he implored Americans to move toward the political “middle” in the spirit of unity amid recent bitter division. The ad has since been yanked from Jeep’s YouTube page.

[From The NY Post]

Yeah. One shot of tequila does not make a grown man “drunk,” nor does it make him too impaired to drive. There’s a reason why there’s a legal limit – because most people feel like it’s fine to drive after one glass of wine, or one beer, or one shot. Because most adults don’t feel impaired in the least after that amount of alcohol. When I drank, years ago, all that would happen with one shot is a warm flush and a burning throat. That’s it. Again, Bruce wasn’t arrested for carrying an open container, and it’s not against the law to consume alcohol in front of a cop. This is over-policing. It also feels like… some people had a very specific grudge against Bruce.

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67 Responses to “Bruce Springsteen’s November DWI arrest came after he had one shot of liquor”

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  1. Eenie Googles says:

    Cops being assholes an anti-Trump celebrity.

    • Darla says:

      This is exactly what I think happened, yep.

    • FHMom says:

      Yes. Totally ridiculous.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      yes, this exactly. also clout-chasing…”I busted the BOSS!” bragging rights amongst the blue.

      ETA: I suspect his lawyers are going to SHUT. THIS. DOWN. with ease.

    • Mari says:

      Yep, 100 percent retaliatory.

    • Anilehcim says:

      I’m from NJ and although we’re a deeply blue state, the beach towns are LOADED with people who are psycho for Trump. Sandy Hook is a beach town and it’s just all insanely Trump-ed out down there. You can drive through any of the beach towns and see houses with Trump flags still flying along with those “blue lives matter” flags.

      There was a lot of insanity in the southern half of the state this summer, like when they would gather at rest stops every weekend and drive up and down the parkway waving their Trump flags. At one point they blocked the entire section of the parkway for an hour or two as some sort of pathetic protest. I’m not sure where these people think they live, but the majority of us don’t agree with or support their bullshit. I went to a pier with my family this summer and we were stunned by all the boats that pulled up with Trump flags waving and of course no one had a mask on.

      Springsteen was definitely targeted by a Trump-loving cop in my opinion. It’s a little crazy how divided things have gotten for those of us in North Jersey vs. the southern part of the state.

  2. manda says:

    I would think that would be dismissed if he was that far below the legal level. I did criminal law for one second, but I seem to recall our criminal code has a specific law that if the level is a certain number or less, then that’s not a crime (or something similar).

    Wow, I was disappointed when I saw his DUI, because how often to we see bruce springsteen messing up? But it seems like they arrested him just for show. This is really ridiculous

    • Maite says:

      I get what you’re saying, but being disappointed in someone making one mistake is holding them to a saintly standard- something no human can meet.

      • manda says:

        I was saying I was disappointed before I read the story, because drinking and driving is a stupid thing to do, and it’s a choice, especially in this world of uber and lyft. Drinking and driving is not a mistake. But, then I read the story, and I thought I implied that I changed by mind because it seemed like they arrested him just to be jerks because he wasn’t drunk

      • whatWHAT? says:

        easy…she said “disappointed”. she didn’t say “OMG I HATE HIM AND I’M BURNING ALL OF HIS RECORDS AND PICKETING HIS HOUSE”.

        I LOVE Bruce, but I admit that I was also disappointed to hear because driving drunk is thoughtless and stupid. and also because it’s “not like him” to do something like that. disappointment is like, so far down the scale of outrage. it’s not holding anyone to a “saintly standard” to not want people to drive drunk. but I also changed my mind when I heard the details on an NYC radio station this AM. it was a BS arrest.

    • Noodle says:

      @manda, isn’t it a crime though to consume alcohol while operating a vehicle, though? Even if you aren’t meeting the DWI threshold, sitting on your motorbike and taking a shot would break that law, no? And I am not equating taking a shot while sitting on a motorbike with DWI; just asking questions about laws because that’s not my area of expertise.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        I think there’s a pretty fine line and it also depends on who is deciding.

        meaning, if I was sitting in my car drinking but my keys were in my pocket or handbag…that is not DUI…BUT! if the keys were in the ignition, then they could bust me. that’s according to a local cop who busted a friend of mine years ago.

        if he was sitting ON his bike, like on the seat, and not just leaning against it, and the key was in the ignition, then he could have been busted on that technicality.

        also, you’re right in the sense that NJ does have an open container law, but some states don’t.

      • manda says:

        There are probably open container laws, but then that’s what you arrest then for, not DUI, especially if the person isn’t drunk. IMO. Or, I guess there are probably laws about not drinking WHILE driving. Still, it seems like it was obviously a random thing, and not like he was riding with a bottle in his boot. I mean, people drink in a place and get in their car and go, so I don’t really see a difference here, even if he was sitting on his bike when he did it. Like I said, I did criminal law for one second, I hated it, LOL

      • Tiffany :) says:

        In my state (not NJ), impairment is required to be charged with DUI.

        I was on a jury for a case where the defendant was accused of DUI, but he had a panic attack at the scene, so they couldn’t administer a breathalyzer. Our task was to determine if he had taken intoxicants, but also, that it reached the level where his driving was impaired. It wasn’t enough to prove that he had taken something, it had to be so much that it affected his driving.

        As manda said, I think open container would be more appropriate charge for someone who was drinking while operating a vehicle, but didn’t reach the level of impairment.

      • Sarah says:

        Yes, it’s the same as sitting in the drivers seat of a parked car even if the engine is off. In my jurisdiction, this meets the “care and control of the vehicle” threshold.

      • Anners says:

        Agreeing with Sarah – where I am, drinking while in care and control of a vehicle (sitting in the driver’s seat, car on or off, keys in the ignition or not) is bad. You can be charged. And honestly, I’m okay with this. Drinking and driving is stupidly unnecessary and selfish in this day and age. Drink all you want, but don’t put others’ lives at risk to do it.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I’ve looked up New Jersey’s law…and .08 is the threshold you MUST meet for a DWI charge, or prove intoxication (affected to the point where mental and physical control are markedly diminished). They absolutely should not have charged him with DWI.

        For open containers and consumption in a vehicle, the answers are found in N.J.S.A. 39:4-51a and N.J.S.A. 39:4-51b. These codes address both open container and consumption, and the penalties are nearly the same. Both have a $200/$250 fee.

        These are considered traffic violations in NJ, not a criminal offense.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Anners, you should be charged, but you should be charged appropriately. Someone with a .02 BAC isn’t putting other people’s lives in danger, which is why it doesn’t meet the threshold for a DWI.

      • Katie says:

        Don‘t drink any alcohol and drive. If you think you‘re okay after a shot, well fine for you. But if you get into a car and drive then any ticket or fine or accident is your own damn fault. In this massive country, you can‘t have exceptions and loopholes or everyone will use them. People love to push the envelope. Elbow bump to whomever wrote about there being no excuse in this age of uber, lyft, taxis…

        When people write that they just had a drink and they blew under the legal limit, I feel like it‘s my 5 year old saying, “You said don‘t eat cookies, Mom, so I didn‘t eat cookieS, I ate A cookie“. Seriously, grow up and be responsible. Give a crap about someone besides yourself, stop taking up police time to check if you’ve been drinking, stop pushing your “personal rights”. Ugh.

  3. Becks1 says:

    This definitely feels like the police just wanted to arrest him….just to make a point? I dont understand how he was charged with a DWI though if his BAC was so below the limit.

    I also dont understand why this is just coming out now, when he was arrested months ago. Was someone sitting on this just to disrupt the success of the Super Bowl commercial?

    • whatWHAT? says:

      “Was someone sitting on this just to disrupt the success of the Super Bowl commercial?”

      makes one wonder, doesn’t it.

      • Sarah says:

        It’s a TERRIBLE commercial and should be taken down. If this makes that happen, good.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        what do you consider “terrible” about it?

        I liked it, but one of my friends pointed out all the Christian imagery, and I was like “yeah, I could see how any non-Christian (Jewish/Muslim/Atheist/whatever) could be uncomfortable with that”…so I’m curious as to why you didn’t like it.

  4. SarahCS says:

    I only read the headline this morning and thought ‘oh NO’ not another person I admire turning out to be a rubbish human being but this scenario is ridiculous. Surely he has a clear legal case to make it go away?

  5. AmyB says:

    I am someone that unfortunately did struggle with drinking years ago and got a DUI in NJ, so I know about the laws here. I def deserved mine, and it was the wake up call I needed to realize the self destruction I was doing. However, not every single person that gets arrested for a DUI is an alcoholic. But yes, it literally only takes one drink at times to put you over the “legal limit”. I am not sure that is fair. And add that to an asshole cop – yeah not so great. Don’t get me wrong, people who drive impaired (like I did) are horribly irresponsible and deserve to be punished. They are putting their own lives at risk AND the lives of others at risk. Thank God I never hurt anyone!!! But this story about Bruce? Ugh…I am not sure he deserves that, especially considering the circumstances.

    Just my two cents.

    • Chelsea says:

      The thing is: even the police report says he wasn’t over the legal limit. It says his BAC level was .02 so I’m not sure how they got away with charging him for DWI. He better havd his lawyers ready to sue over this.

      • liz says:

        You can still be arrested for DUI even if your BAC is below the legal limits, if there are other factors, such as driving erratically/dangerously or if the cops actually saw you drinking. That is going to be how the cops justify the charges – they saw him take a drink and didn’t know if it was his first drink or his tenth.

        He will have to pay a fine and do some community service.

      • lucy2 says:

        I can get pulling him over, and understand the “who knows if this was his first drink” thing, but once he only registered 0.02, that should have been the end of it and he was released without charges.

        On a side note, I cannot imagine taking a drink from a total stranger, but maybe that’s something men don’t really think about that much.

      • sa says:

        @lucy2, I’m with you about taking a drink from stranger. All I can think is that if they were drinking from the same bottle maybe that assured him it was safe. Still, seems unnecessarily risky, especially during a pandemic.

  6. Jay says:

    I always assumed Bruce was kind of revered in New Jersey, so I’m surprised he was arrested at all.

    • Becks1 says:

      He’s come out against police brutality and killing of minorities quite a few times – he has one song called American Skin (41 shots) about the killing of Amadou Diallo and when that came out there was some controversy with the police unions (I think they refused to provide security for his NYC shows that tour or something? My husband knows the details.) And I remember seeing him perform that song shortly after Trayvon Martin was killed and there were huge pictures of him on the screen during it and some men around us definitely sat down and crossed their arms during the song.

      It’s a really good song, I think its one of his best.

    • lucy2 says:

      He is, but we still have a lot of a-holes here too, and he’s pretty outspoken about stuff a lot of police types don’t like.

  7. equality says:

    It is illegal to have alcohol in Asbury Park. It’s not that complicated. In most public parks it is illegal to drink or only allowed in certain areas.

    • Shoo fly says:

      This wasn’t in Asbury Park, so clearly you must be an expert. Why didn’t the National Park Police arrest the people with the booze then?

      • equality says:

        How do you know they didn’t arrest the people with the booze? And what about my post says I am an expert? The reports I have seen about his blood alcohol levels say “a source” and “reportedly” so they aren’t committing to that being the actual levels. It is the usual half-of-the-story reporting the media seems to excel in lately. Some of the reports I saw said Asbury Park and some said in the Gateway National Recreation Area.

    • Desical says:

      Asbury Park is a beach town with bars and restaurants – it is not illegal to have alcohol there. It is also some distance away from Sandy Hook.

    • Shoo fly says:

      The Park Police would have no jurisdiction in Asbury Park and it wouldn’t be in federal court. Take a seat, no, two seats, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      sh*t, the Stone Pony is in a heap of trouble then.

    • lucy2 says:

      ? Asbury Park is full of bars and other establishments. Do you mean no open container outside? I don’t think it’s legal in NJ to have any open containers in a vehicle, so that might be why too.
      But also this happened in Sandy Hook which is like 15-20 miles north of Asbury.

  8. DS9 says:

    Jersey cops are a delightful, petty bunch of power trippers so I’m shocked not at all.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      it’s weird, though, these were the Park Police, and in my experience the Park Rangers are a LOT more mellow than the “regular” cops in NJ (from the Great Garden State and have had plenty of interaction with both). I think what people are speculating is true; these cops had it in for him.

      • Shoo fly says:

        The Park Police sometimes patrols Sandy Hook in the off-season like there are Nazi subs off the coast and everyone entering is suspect.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        oh, makes sense. I’m usually there in the spring/summer/early fall, and there’s so much for them to be watching then that they’d not bother with petty BS.

        I’ve had them check my bait cooler for alcohol, but it’s usually them stopping to chat, asking if we caught anything, and then “mind if I check in your cooler?” but done in a folksy way.

  9. Ang says:

    Really glad to read this article. This was clearly ridiculous charges and the details were important to clarify.

  10. newmenow says:

    When I saw the Jeep ad…Is THAT Bruce doing a car ad??
    WTH? Go ahead and roll out Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan too why not?

    Bruce has a long history of donating to food shelves, being politically active, etc. which I like about him. I might be one of the few who has never bought his music, it’s just OK to me. Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac fall into this category for me too.

    Why would Bruce even think to do a paid car ad? No.

    And knowing he has a DUI on his record, he had to know that was gonna be brought up.

    • Shoo fly says:

      He doesn’t have a DUI on his record. The rest of your comment suggests you believe every commercial on earth should target you, personally.

    • Becks1 says:

      Well bringing Fleetwood Mac into this means this is a FIGHT now, lol (I’m a huge FM fan, my husband is a huge Springsteen fan.) Have you seen any of those acts – Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, or Springsteen – live? Because I was meh on Springsteen before my husband started dragging me to his concerts. There is something about 30k people fist pumping to “Born to Run” that is really electric. And if you havent seen Stevie Nicks twirl in person, then you are missing out lol. (and RIP to Tom Petty)

      • Eenie Googles says:

        Stevie nicks seems like an INSUFFERABLE human being, tho.

      • GuestWho says:

        the saying goes: There are two types of people in the world: Bruce Springsteen fans, and those people who have never seen him perform live.

      • Becks1 says:

        What on earth? Stevie Nicks is a living legend! I will not tolerate this blasphemy!

      • lucy2 says:

        I’ve always like Bruce’s music, but yeah the live concert is a whole other experience.

        I think Bob Dylan did a commercial a few years ago? I saw it mentioned when articles talked about this Jeep commercial.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        “Stevie nicks seems like an INSUFFERABLE human being, tho.”

        um, what would make you say this? I know people who worked with her and said she’s lovely, if a bit shy.

  11. Daphne says:

    Perhaps he was acting impaired and that one shot of tequila mixed with a regimen of pills? But didn’t have a BAC that was high as a result. I live in Denver and the causal use of xanax, adderrol (sp?), anti-depressants plus any form of pot can be a lot when mixed together. I use Xanax for panic disorder but do not mix with alcohol and log when I use it religiously. The pot is dismissed as “oh it’s natural” so it’s viewed as 100% a non issue regardless of frequency of use.

  12. Coji says:

    I similarly wasn’t super concerned when I read about it the other day. I figured it was a one off because if he had substance abuse issues it would have come out a long, long time ago. This account certainly makes it seem like it was a cop being a jerk.

  13. Julia K says:

    A 71 year old man with no built up tolerance for alcohol took a shot on an empty stomach perhaps? No question that even with low BAL he would be somewhat impaired.

    • Shoo fly says:

      Right because the police absolutely must be telling the truth.

      • Julia K says:

        Appreciate your comment but my intent has nothing to do with policing. It is only to point out that older people have different physiological responses to alcohol .

  14. Lunasf17 says:

    This sounds like entrapment in the police’s part. I don’t drink and live at a high altitude so I probably shouldn’t drive after a shot. But if he has a tolerance and also weighs more than me so I’m guessing it doesn’t really affect him much. I’m all for strict drunk driving laws but I don’t think this is a good use of tax payer money. I’m sure there are more dangerous people out there these cops could be going after than the Boss.

  15. Nina Simone says:

    This gives politically motivated. I don’t trust the cops that did this.

    I love the boss!!

  16. deering24 says:

    Cops have hated his guts since his Amadou Diallo song.

  17. Queen Anne says:

    BECKS1 I am so with you on Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks! I love them!! My goal in life is to get long extensions, high boots and learn to twirl like her❤️. She is amazing.

    And I would love to see Brother very Springsteen in concert. I love his music. And I thought the ad he did was great. Shame on jeep.

  18. Tasha says:

    The DWI was an overreach for sure. He should have disclosed it to Jeep, though.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      he may have. it happened in November of last year, and the public is just now finding out about it.

      it’s very possible he told Jeep and they were like “meh” but so many MAGAts (and the cops who don’t like that he speaks out against police brutality) are p*ssed about that ad it wouldn’t be surprising if someone (a cop who hates him) leaked this info to put the kibosh on an ad that got a lot of positive feedback from the public and press.

  19. cassandra says:

    I guess this opinion is controversial, but he was operating a vehicle and took a shot while on the vehicle…..kind of a dumb move there.

    I get he wasn’t drunk or really impaired, but not bright.