Baltimore, MD- Roughly 50 percent of people arrested for their first DUI will face the same charges in the future. That’s the case of Olympian Michael Phelps who arrested earlier this morning in Baltimore on suspicion of driving under the influence, making it his second DUI arrest.
CBS Baltimore reported that Phelps, 35, was stopped at 1:40 a.m. after an officer observed him traveling 85 mph in a 45 mph zone. An officer followed the athlete’s White Range Rover northbound through the McHenry tunnel on I-95, and saw him crossing into the other lanes. The officer initiated the stop just before a toll plaza.
The officer noted in his report that Phelps exhibited signs of intoxication and subjected him to field sobriety tests. According to CBS Baltimore, Phelps performed poorly on the tests and was taken into police custody.
In his report, the arresting officer said Phelps was cooperative. He was reportedly released later Tuesday. The Baltimore Sun reported that he was charged with DUI, speeding and crossing double lane lines.
Multiple reports noted this was the gold-medal winner’s second DUI arrest. His first was in 2004, when he was 18, after he was pulled over for running a stop sign. Back then he was charged with DUI, DWI He made a deal and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation for pleading guilty to drunken driving.
Phelps is the second celebrity but the first athlete this week to get hit with a DUI charge. Troubled actress Amanda Bynes was arrested for drunk driving Monday in California after she stopped in the middle of an intersection at 3:30 in the morning.
Recidivism for drunken and drugged is a serious problem in the U.S. Lawmakers in each state have been working to toughen DUI laws for repeat offenders. This is true of Maryland where a new law regarding repeat DUI offenses is slated to take effect October 1st, just one day after Phelps’ DUI arrest—he may have dodged a bullet there.
Once Senate Bill 87 takes effect repeat DUI offenders will face a mandatory one year’s suspension of their driver’s license or be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for one year. The law also forbids the offender from operating a work vehicle unless it is equipped with and ignition interlock device.
The look back period in Maryland is 10 years so Phelps may have narrowly barely avoid being charged a repeat offense, though we don’t know that for certain. If Phelps is charged as a repeat offender, with the help of a DUI attorney, it is possible for him to get a lenient sentence and avoid some of the more severe penalties.
Everyone, rich or poor, need to contact a DUI attorney immediately. A DUI is not a trivial charge and the effects of a conviction can ripple through different areas of your life. A solid defense strategy is essential if you want to have any hope of stopping conviction or asking the court for a more lenient sentence.