DUI charges for Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps

According to media reports, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps was detained on charges of drunk driving on Sept. 30 in Maryland. Sources say that he later released a statement that same day to apologize for his actions and that he understood the severity of the offense.

The incident occurred around 1:40 a.m. The Maryland Transportation Authority officer who stopped Phelps says he was driving nearly 40 mph above the speed limit in a 45-mph zone. The officer suspected Phelps of being under the influence and administered field sobriety tests. Phelps was charged with excessive speed, crossing double lane lines and driving under the influence.

This is the second time Phelps has faced DUI charges. The first time was in 2004. At that time, Phelps had to pay a $250 fine and serve 18 months’ probation as well as deliver presentations on alcohol awareness at several high schools. Phelps has been working on a career comeback following two years of retirement after the 2012 Olympics in London.

Drunk driving charges could negatively impact both an individual’s personal and professional life, and depending on any previous convictions he or she may have on his or her criminal record, the penalties associated with the charges could be harsh. However, with the assistance of a lawyer, a strong defense could be built that reduces or dismisses some or all of the charges. A lawyer could raise questions about an officer’s motive of probable cause for pulling a defendant over. Additionally, a lawyer could also argue about the reliability of field sobriety tests as they may be subjective.

Source: ABC 7 News, “Olympian Michael Phelps ‘Deeply Sorry’ after Md. drunk driving arrest “, September 30, 2014

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