Friday, 19 December 2014

Michael Phelps Pleads Guilty to DUI, Olympian Placed on 18-Month Probation

Michael Phelps pleaded guilty to one count of DUI today, nearly three months after the Olympic gold medalist was arrested in Maryland on suspicion of driving under the influence. 

Per NBC News, the 29-year-old athlete, who is the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, was given a one-year suspended sentence on Friday and will not serve any jail time. Under the terms of his guilty plea, Phelps has been placed on an 18-month supervised probation program and must also attend a drinking and driving monitoring program. 

The celebrity swimmer is prohibited from alcohol or drug use while on probation. He must also get permission before changing his address or job.  

Phelps was arrested in Maryland on Sept. 30 at approximately 1:40 a.m. and charged with driving under the influence, excessive speed and crossing double lane lines within the Fort McHenry Tunnel on I-95, the Maryland Transportation Authority previously confirmed to E! News. According to authorities, Phelps was pulled over for driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone and he reportedly registered a .14 on his blood alcohol test (the legal limit in Maryland is 0.08). 

This isn't Phelp's first run-in with the law, nor his first brush with drinking and driving. He was previously arrested for DUI in Maryland back in November 2004 when he was 19 years old. 

Hours after his second DUI arrest, Phelps addressed the incident on Twitter, apologizing to fans while noting that he understands the "severity" of his actions and takes "full responsibility." He later announced on the social media site that he was entering a six-week rehab program to help him "better understand" himself. 

"The past few days have been extremely difficult," Phelps tweeted. "I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself. I'm going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself."

He added: "Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future." 

Following his DUI arrest, Phelps was also suspended from USA Swimming. "Michael's conduct was serious and required significant consequences," USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus said in a statement to E! News. "Michael has publicly acknowledged the impact of his decisions, his accountability especially due to his stature in the sport and the steps necessary for self-improvement. We endorse and are here to fully support his personal development actions."

In addition to a six-month suspension from USA Swimming, Phelps will have to withdraw from the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championship in Russia next August. He also won't be receiving monthly payments from the organization during his suspension. 

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