Flash! Phelps Sentenced to Probation

SALISBURY, Maryland, December 29. OLYMPIC superstar Michael Phelps, 19, can breathe a little easier tonight after he was sentenced to 18 months' probation after pleading guilty to driving while impaired in a Salisbury, Maryland, court this afternoon.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail plus a $1,000 fine.

Judge Lloyd O. Whitehead granted Phelps probation before judgment, which will allow the 19 year-old to have his record expunged if he abides by the terms of his probation. Aside from his arrest for DUI, Phelps has an otherwise spotless record.

Phelps pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and was fined $250. In addition, he was ordered to pay $55 in court costs and told to attend Mothers Against Drunk Driving meetings. He also must speak to students at several schools about the dangers of consuming alcohol — something he has already begun doing.

Prosecutors dropped several charges against Phelps, including driving under the influence, underage drinking and failure to stop at a stop sign.

"I recognize the seriousness of this mistake," Phelps told the judge in court. "I've learned from this mistake and will continue learning from this mistake for the rest of my life."

Phelps, who won six gold and two bronze medals in Athens last August, was pulled over by a state trooper on November 4 after he failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. He was then charged with driving under the influence, failing to obey a stop sign and violating a license restriction.