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Michael Phelps Gets Probation in DUI Plea Deal

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on December 19, 2014 11:43 AM

Olympic gold-medal swimmer Michael Phelps pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in a Baltimore court this morning.

The swimmer appeared in court after being arrested on September 30 for DUI, reports The Associated Press. Following his arrest, Phelps' attorney told the court that the 18-time gold medal winner had enrolled in a 45-day treatment program in Arizona and had continued attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings upon his return to Maryland.

Was Phelps' contrition enough to keep him out of jail?

1-Year Prison Sentence, Suspended

Phelps was sentenced to a year in prison after entering the guilty plea, but his sentence was suspended. Suspended sentences generally allow a judge to decide on a sentence without having to carry it out.

A suspended sentence may be made conditional upon the completion of other conditions ordered by the judge. In Phelps' case, he was also sentenced 18 months of probation. Probation releases a convicted criminal back into the community with certain conditions on the probationer's behavior. If Phelps fails to adhere to the conditions of his probation he will likely be forced to serve jail time. However, Phelps will be able to avoid jail time entirely if he abides by the terms of his probation.

DUI Arrest

Phelps DUI arrest came after he was clocked going 85 mph in a 45-mph zone in Baltimore's McHenry Tunnel. After Phelps reportedly exhibited signs of being under the influence of alcohol, he was given a blood alcohol concentration test. The test came back .14, nearly twice the legal limit.

The arrest was not Phelps' first DUI arrest. He was previously arrested for DUI in 2004. In that case, he also plead guilty and was sentenced to 18 months probation, but was able to keep the conviction off his record through a Maryland law allowing first-time DUI offenders to receive probation before judgment.

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