Michael Phelps Jail Time Unlikely; DUI Court Hearing Today

BALTIMORE – Michael Phelps, who was arrested in Baltimore on a DUI charge on Sept. 30, is due to appear in court today in Baltimore.

Phelps, who was originally scheduled to make the appearance a month ago, faces charges of DUI, speeding and crossing double yellow lines after being stopped by Baltimore police in the Fort McHenry Tunnel after an eight-hour run at the casino.

Phelps faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Many experts expect a suspended sentence.

Michael Phelps Walks To Courthouse

Michael Phelps

Photo Courtesy: Twitter


Phelps was initially stopped for crossing the double yellow lines and for driving 39 miles per hour over the posted 45-mph speed limit.  Phelps then failed field sobriety tests, and had a blood-alcohol level of .14, well over the state’s legal limit of .08.

Following this news breaking in October, Phelps announced that he would enter rehab, while USA Swimming elected to suspend him for six months.  Additionally, USA Swimming and Phelps mutually agreed that Phelps should withdraw from the 2015 World Championship team.

This isn’t the first time Phelps has had trouble with substance abuse.  In 2004, Phelps was arrested for DUI as a 19-year-old. Then, in 2009, a photo of him smoking from a marijuana pipe emerged.  The marijuana picture led to a three-month suspension from USA Swimming.

Scott J. Richman, who was the head of Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office Traffic Division from 2012 to 2014, however, believes that Phelps will not face any jail time as he spoke with USA Today about the case.

“The big things the judge is going to look at, two things, the facts of the case, obviously, and the time in between the two (DUIs),” Richman told USA Today. “The less time that’s been elapsed, the more likely you’re going to see some incarceration. In a case like this where it’s been almost 10 years to the day, there was no accident, there wasn’t a particularly high test result in the grand scheme of test results the court sees, if I had to guess I would say he’s going to get a suspended sentence. In that case, that means the judge gives him a one-year sentence. He suspends the entire amount and puts him on supervised probation. If he violates his probation, then the judge can give him up to one year (in jail).”

Phelps has already completed his stint in rehab, and is back in the water training with his longtime coach Bob Bowman preparing for the end of his USA Swimming suspension.  He’s looking at meets in France and the Mesa Grand Prix as some of his next likely swims.

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Author: Jason Marsteller

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Jason Marsteller is the general manager of digital properties at Swimming World. He joined Swimming World in June 2006 as the managing editor after previous stints as a media relations professional at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Utah University and the Utah Summer Games.

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