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Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps facing second drunk driving conviction

During the 2012 London Summer Olympics, many North Carolinians were glued to their television screens as they cheered on the swimming sensation known as Michael Phelps. During that Olympic Games, Phelps went on to break world records, winning a total of 18 gold medals and 22 medals total.

The cheering fans of those Olympic Games likely seemed a distant memory when Phelps was recently arrested and charged with his second DUI. Police near Baltimore report they pulled Phelps over after the vehicle he was operating was observed speeding and crossing the highway's double center line.

Upon being pulled over, police officers performed field sobriety tests on Phelps which he failed. A blood alcohol test also showed the former Olympic swimmer had a BAC level of 0.14. He was arrested and charged with DUI. Currently, Phelps is scheduled to appear before a judge on November 19. That appearance may, however, be delayed as Phelps recently announced his decision to enter an in-patient treatment program.

This most-recent DUI arrest marks the second time Phelps has been arrested drunk driving. His first arrest was in 2004 when the swimmer was only 19 years old. At that time, Phelps pleaded guilty, but, as a first-time offender, avoided jail time and was sentenced to serve 18 months probation.

According to Maryland DUI laws, if convicted as a second-DUI offender, Phelps could be sentenced to spend up to 12 months in jail. He will also likely be forced to pay a $1,000 fine and have his driver's license revoked for six months. Had Phelps been driving in North Carolina, as a second-DWI offender, he would likely lose his driver's license for one year, be forced to pay fines of at least $2,000 and be required to install an ignition-interlock device in his vehicle.

A DWI conviction can forever and negatively alter the course of an individual's life. It's important, therefore, to take DWI charges very seriously and seek the advice and assistance of a criminal defense attorney who may be able to assist in having charges dismissed or penalties reduced.

Source: Fox News, "Michael Phelps says swimming on hold, will enter program after DUI arrest," AP, Oct. 5, 2014

North Carolina Department of Transportation Governor's Highway Safety Program, "Booze It & Lose It," 2014

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