Olympic great arrested on DUI charges in Maryland

Most people know Maryland-native Michael Phelps for his record-setting achievements at the Olympics and his headline making achievements in the water. Unfortunately, the swimmer, who has 18 gold medals to his name, made headlines for all the wrong reasons earlier this week when he was arrested for driving under the influence.

According to reports, Phelps was pulled over by Maryland Transportation Authority Police just outside of the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore at around 1:40 a.m. after his Land Rover was observed traveling 85 miles-per-hour in a 45 mile-per-hour zone.

He was eventually placed under arrest and charged with DUI, crossing double lanes and excessive speed after failing a field sobriety test. He was also reported to have failed a breathalyzer test, registering a blood alcohol concentration of.14, which is nearly double the state’s legal limit of .08.

Fans of the Olympic great will note that this isn’t the first time that he has been in trouble for impaired driving. Back in 2004, Phelps was arrested and charged with a DUI in Wicomico County when he was only 19 years old.

Phelps pleaded guilty to this charge and was ultimately sentenced to 18 months of probation, a $250 fine and ordered to give alcohol awareness presentations at three schools.

This is significant from a legal perspective as it means that the conviction in this case was essentially waived, such that Phelps is now facing the same penalties as a first-time offender — up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine and a six-month driver’s license suspension. It also means that prosecutors cannot seek enhanced maximum penalties as they are otherwise permitted to do against second-offense drunk driving offenders.

For his part, Phelps expressed remorse for the incident on social media, apologizing to everyone he had “let down.” His trial is scheduled for next month.

While experts are fairly certain that the world-record holder won’t face jail time, it nevertheless remains to be seen how his many sponsors react.

Stay tuned for updates …

If you or a loved one have been arrested on DUI charges, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible as your freedom and your future may be at stake.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Olympian Michael Phelps arrested for drunken driving a second time,” Justin Fenton and Childs Walker, Sept. 30, 2014; ESPN, “Michael Phelps’ breath test was .14,” Oct. 1, 2014

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