18-Time Gold Medalist Swimmer Michael Phelps Pleads Guilty To DUI
BALTIMORE, Maryland - Olympian Michael Phelps pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol Friday, almost three months since he was last arrested back in September.
He was stopped for speeding, and crossing into an oncoming traffic lane in the Fort McHenry Tunnel. He was going 84 mph in a 45 mph zone. The officer that pulled him over stated that he smelled of alcohol, his speech was slurred, and that his eyes were blood-shot. When the swimmer was asked to stand on one leg as part of the sobriety test he replied, “That's not happening.” According to police reports, the gold medalist appeared “disoriented and argumentative.”
Police soon confirmed that Phelps blood-alcohol registered .14, when the legal limit is .08 in Maryland.
Phelps was sentenced to a year in prison, but the sentence was suspended and he received 18 months of probation.
This is not Phelps first DUI arrest; he had his first encounter in 2004, when he was 19. He presented a guilty plea, but wasn't convicted due to age and a clean rap sheet prior to the occurrence. Instead he was sentenced probation, fined, and ordered to educate high school students on the dangers of alcohol.
Phelps attorney stated that he began treatment immediately after his recent arrest. He is currently attending Alcoholics Anonymous, and another treatment program in Maryland.
Phelps told the judge, "I now have the tools to move past this. What I did was wrong, and I made a bad mistake." He also said, "I'm looking forward to having a much brighter future than I had in the past."
Judge Nathan Braverman warned Phelps of what will occur if he encounters another alcohol related incident. “You don't need a lecture from the court," Braverman said. "If you haven't gotten the message by now, or forget the message, the only option is jail.”
Before the arrest, Phelps planned to exit retirement, and compete at a fifth Olympics in Rio. The plea should not have any impact on those plans.