It is not uncommon for a first-time DUI offender to be arrested and charged for second and third offenses. It is uncommon for that second-time offender to be the most decorated Olympian in history. According to CNN recent reports, legendary swimmer Michael Phelps was arrested and charged with DUI in Baltimore. This was not his first run-in with the police and his first DUI occurred before he was of legal drinking age. The swimmer was arrested in Maryland around 1:40 a.m. and charged with driving under the influence, excessive speeding, and for crossing over double lanes.
According to his Twitter account, the athlete was not on a training break, but had returned to competitive swimming in April. The 29-year-old apologized for his actions and issued a series of messages on social media. Statements were also issued on behalf of the USA Swimming team finding his actions disappointing and “unquestionably serious.” Police reports stated that an officer was operating a stationary radar when a 2014 Land Rover passed traveling at 84 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. The officer trailed the vehicle onto northbound I-95 through the tunnel and pulled the driver over near the toll plaza. Using his driver’s license ID, it was confirmed that the 22-time medalist was behind the wheel.
Anyone pulled over and arrested for DUI deserves a strategic defense. Even individuals who admit to breaking the law should consult with an attorney to avoid being over-charged or over-penalized for actions. This is especially true in cases involving aggravated offenses, including second or third time offenders, drivers involved in accident, and cases involving injury or fatality. Our Birmingham DUI attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients. We will take a strategic approach to review all evidence in your case and work to achieve an optimal outcome, either through complete dismissal or reduction of charges and penalties.
The police officer who stopped Michael Phelps reported that he was unable to perform a series of field sobriety tests. This led to his arrest, criminal charges, and subsequent release. According to reports, Phelps has also been scrutinized for a photograph that surfaced in 2009, allegedly capturing the swimming smoking from a bong. He was suspended from competition for three months and at least one of his sponsors (Kellogg) withdrew its contract. This is the first time Phelps has been back in the water training since 2012. Prior to returning to training, he went traveling for a year and golfing but mentioned no aspirations to return to competitive swimming. It is not known how the arrest will impact his return to the US Swimming team.
The arrest and charge could lead to serious professional and criminal penalties. Second offenders will often face more serious charges and penalties than those who are being charged with DUI for the first time. Michael Phelps was arrested in 2004 when he was only 19, but struck a deal for 18-months of probation. It is unclear how those prior charges may impact his charges or potential penalties.