Justin Bieber


The freelance photographer who ended up in legal hot water after engaging in a high-speed freeway chase with Justin Bieber can breathe a little easier.

A Van Nuys, Calif., judge on Wednesday dismissed two misdemeanor charges against Paul Raef stemming from his hot pursuit of the "Baby" singer on July 6, E! News has confirmed.

The ruling, which came after defense arguments were heard, is significant as the shutterbug was the first to be charged under the state's 2010 law targeting paparazzi with increased penalties for reckless driving.

In making his decision, Superior Court Judge Thomas Rubinson called the statute aimed at people taking pictures for commercial purposes "problematic" and "overly inclusive" since it could be applied in a broad way to situations that were never intended, such as photographers who drive recklessly on their way to shoot a wedding or even a pre-arranged photo shoot with the Biebs.

Under the new law, Raef could have faced six months in jail and a $3,500 fine.

According to the L.A. City Attorney's Office, Raef is accused of driving his Toyota Rav 4 over 80 miles per hour while trying to keep up with Bieber on the Hollywood 101 freeway. The two cars weaved repeatedly in and out of lanes, supposedly forcing motorists to either brake or swerve to avoid a collision.

Justin ended up getting pulled over for speeding and was released, though not long afterward he called 911 to report he was being harassed by Raef again in the same Toyota. After police tracked the vehicle down, the pap was subsequently slapped with criminal charges.

Raef isn't off the hook entirely. He still faces two other misdemeanor counts, however—a traditional reckless driving charge, which carries up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, and failing to obey the lawful order of a peace officer.

Meanwhile, Biebs indulged in a bit of carelessness himself and underwent automotive déjà vu Tuesday evening, when he was again pulled over (albeit this time in his Ferrari) for an unsafe turn and ultimately issued an expired-registration citation.

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