After earning more gold medals than any other Olympian in history, Michael Phelps is more than just a celebrity, he’s an American hero. But like the rest of us, he’s not perfect. In fact, Phelps was recently charged with his second DUI within ten years and despite his star status, the swimmer is still likely to receive a sentence similar to any other convicted drunk driver. To help you understand what a guilty verdict would mean to you, Vista DUI lawyer Peter M. Liss explores the Michael Phelps case.
It all started after Phelps spent an evening at the Baltimore Horseshoe Casino. Phelps left the casino and was soon stopped for driving 84 mph in a 45 zone and crossing double lane lines. Police asked him to take field sobriety tests since they suspected he was drunk. He failed the sobriety test and was arrested at the scene. When his blood alcohol level was tested, he measured in at .14. Like California, the Maryland state legal limit is .08. While most DUI attorneys in Vista would urge their clients to refuse to take a field sobriety test, Phelps’ high BAC and reckless driving are enough to make a strong case against him either way.
It seems likely that Phelps will plead guilty, given that he has already made a public apology and promised to check in to a six-week treatment program. “I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself,” He said. “I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself. Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual, and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.” While he did not specify that the program will be related to alcohol treatment, those closest to him are confirming that he will be seeking help with alcohol.
Like California, Maryland requires those convicted of a DUI to complete a court-approved alcohol education program before getting their license back, so Phelps will likely be required to take a separate training session on top of his treatment.
Peter M. Liss points out that the fact that someone of Michael Phelps’ celebrity status still needs help with their alcohol problem should illustrate just how serious these issues can be. In many cases, merely trying not to drink so much isn’t going to stop the problem. Even so, he advises clients to never make a statement to police or the public that could be inferred as a sign of guilt, like Michael Phelps’ public statement, without first talking to your Vista DUI defense lawyer.
Remember, if even Michael Phelps’ can be charged with a DUI, you can be to. But being charged with a crime isn’t the same as being convicted. If you are accused of drinking and driving in Vista, DUI attorney Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by Cory M Grenier