Swimmer Michael Phelps charged with DUI in Maryland

On behalf of Jack B. Rubin, PA posted in Drunk Driving on Wednesday, October 1, 2014.

The swimming star Michael Phelps was taken into custody by Maryland Transportation Authority Police in the early morning hours of Sept. 30 on suspicion of driving under the influence. This is the second drunk driving incident in a decade for Phelps. The swimmer, who has won more Olympic medals than any other athlete, was previously charged with DUI in 2004.

The latest incident occurred at about 1:40 a.m. when officers allegedly observed Phelps driving at a high rate of speed near the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore. Police say that the athlete was taken into custody after he performed poorly during a series of standard field sobriety exercises. Phelps is also said to have consented to a breath test to measure his blood alcohol level, but the results of this test were not immediately released by authorities.

Phelps was subsequently charged with a number of traffic violations in addition to DUI. The swimmer was banned from competition for three months in 2009 after British newspapers published photographs in which he appeared to be smoking marijuana, and further disciplinary action could be forthcoming following his latest DUI charge.

Those convicted of driving under the influence in Maryland may face severe sanctions, and this is especially true for repeat offenders. This case illustrates that the impact of a DUI conviction may sometimes go beyond criminal penalties and negatively impact one’s public image. A criminal defense attorney may seek to mitigate the penalties assessed in a drunk driving case by attempting to have charges reduced or dismissed during plea negotiations. They could also question the validity of the evidence in a DUI case such as toxicology test results, accident reports or the statements of the police officers involved.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Olympian Michael Phelps arrested for drunken driving a second time “, Justin Fenton and Childs Walker, September 30, 2014

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