SALISBURY, Maryland, December 29. OLYMPIC superstar Michael Phelps is scheduled to appear before a judge in Salisbury, Maryland, this afternoon to face charges stemming from his arrest on November 4 for driving while under the influence of alcohol after an officer saw him fail to make a complete stop at a stop sign. He also faces a charge of drinking while under the age of 21.
Phelps’ attorneys have not indicated whether the 19 year-old will plead guilty or not guilty at his appearance.
Phelps, who won six gold and two bronze medals in Athens in August and was unanimously selected as Swimming World’s “World Swimmer of the Year” for 2004, has already apologized publicly for his behavior on at least four occasions and has spoken to youth groups, urging them not to use alcohol or to drink and drive.
Potentially, Phelps could face a sentence of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, but since he is a first-time offender, probation – perhaps combined with public service such as the talks he has already given to youth groups – is a more likely sentence.