The paparazzo who was the alleged ringleader in the wild Justin Bieber Freeway chase in L.A. earlier this month has been hit with multiple criminal charges.
According to the L.A. City Attorney, 30 year old Paul Raef -- a freelance paparazzo -- was hit with a total of 4 counts stemming from the July 6 incident.
-- 2 counts of following another vehicle too closely and reckless driving, with the intent to capture pictures for commercial gain
-- 1 count of reckless driving
-- 1 count of failing to obey the lawful order of a peace officer.
This is the first case filed under the new paparazzi law ...which makes it a crime to create a dangerous situation while following a celebrity for profit.
TMZ broke the story ... Bieber was cited for driving 80 mph in his chrome Fisker Karma. Justin told police he was trying to escape a gang of paparazzi who had been relentlessly pursuing him for miles.
Officials say Raef was among the pack of photogs giving chase ... and was driving his Toyota Rav at speeds "well in excess of 80 miles per hour across all lanes and even, at times, on the shoulder."
Officials say other motorists were forced to apply their brakes and swerve to avoid colliding with the vehicles.
Officials say cops caught up with Bieber and Raef during the chase and tried to pull them both over. Justin obliged ... but Raef allegedly blew off the lights and sirens and fled the scene.
30 minutes later, officials say cops noticed Raef's car at another paparazzi crush ... and identified him as the guy from the previous chase.
If convicted on all counts, Raef could face up to one year in the county jail and fines totaling $3,500.
in Freeway Chase
7/25/2012 11:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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