Stab Magazine | Bruce Irons Arrested In Newport Beach

Bruce Irons Arrested In Newport Beach

“I did the sobriety test and I was fine,” claims Bruce

Words by stab

On Thanksgiving morning, Bruce Irons was arrested in Newport Beach, under suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, and driving without a valid driver’s license.

The arrest occurred slightly before 9:30am on November 22nd when, according to police reports, Irons was found unconscious behind the wheel of a running automobile in the parking lot of a Newport Beach gas station. He was released on $2,500 bail.

Irons denies the charges, claiming to TMZ that, “I did the sobriety test and I was fine.”

But that’s not how DUI arrests or standardized field sobriety tests work. Officers watch for indicators of impairment of which most individuals are unaware, unable to control, and which rely heavily on the arresting officer’s observations and judgment. Police officers do not, generally, say whether someone passes, or fails, a SFST. Officers determine whether there is probable cause to make an arrest for suspicion of DUI based on the totality of the circumstances. This includes all of the officer’s evaluations: the subject’s control of the vehicle, physical appearance, motor control function, and other indicia of impairment.

“Failing” a field sobriety test is a colloquial term, it is not something that is addressed in court. They key question is whether officers had probable cause to believe Mr. Irons was driving while impaired. In short, “passing” a field sobriety test means the police let you go. Being arrested is an indication that you “failed”, in the eyes of the arresting officer—i.e. the officer believed there was probable cause for an arrest.

Furthermore, whether Irons “passed” or “failed” the SFST is irrelevant. He was, almost certainly, required to provide a blood or urine sample while in custody. If there is presence of drugs in his system that will be considered evidence of impairment.

The news comes months after the release of Andy Irons: Kissed By God, which for the first time lifted a veil on both Andy’s and Bruce’s struggles with substance abuse, most notably addiction to prescription drugs and opiates. In the film, Bruce is clear-eyed and frank about the reality of becoming a “drug addicted monster”; those close to Bruce and the film attested to Bruce’s positive and sober state during filming. 

Bruce Irons and longtime friend, Cory Lopez, at the Andy Irons: Kissed By God premiere in Los Angeles. Photo by Victoria Moura

In the last year, however, many close friends have voiced concerns about Bruce, many claiming nothing short of an intervention and long-term treatment would keep the monkey off Bruce’s back. When the subject arises amongst those close to Bruce, almost to a person they simply say they hope to see Bruce happy, healthy, and in the water where he belongs. 

It’s worth noting that Bruce’s three-year contract with RVCA is set to come up in the coming month, and surely the subject of drugs will be a determining factor in whether the contract is renewed, regardless of the youngest Irons’ Brother’s special place in the surf world. 



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