Michael Phelps Completes Probation Following DUI Conviction, Gets Off With No Jail Time

michael phelpsOlympic swimming champion Michael Phelps officially completed his probation this week following his 2014 DUI conviction.

In December 2014, Phelps was sentenced to 18 months probation as a result of his DUI arrest in Baltimore. He was charged with driving under the influence, speeding, and crossing double lane lines in the Fort McHenry Tunnel.

The conviction caused the Olympian to be suspended from the USA swimming team and required him to check into a rehab facility for 45 days of treatment.

When Phelps came out of rehab, he told the media that he was not sure he was ever an alcoholic, but he did say “I know I probably have moments where I have gone off the deep end where I shouldn’t.”

This was the swimmer’s second DUI arrest. The first occurred in 2004, and at that time he also received 18 months probation.

Considering that Maryland state law cites “up to one year” imprisonment as the penalty for a DUI first offense, one might wonder if Phelps did not receive preferential treatment from the court due to his status as an Olympian and international celebrity.

“Clearly, you don’t need a lecture from this court,” said District Court judge Nathan Braverman during his hearing back in 2014.

Defense attorney Steven A. Allen added, “I think this has driven home, in a very meaningful way to him, what needs to be done. I have the greatest degree of confidence this will never happen again.”

One can’t help but wonder: if Phelps were not a white celebrity and athlete, would the judge and his attorney have been so confident in his rehabilitation? Would Phelps have so easily avoided jail time?

Imprisonment is a typical penalty for a DUI in many states. For instance, a DUI conviction in Ohio can result in jail time ranging from three days to six months. In Maryland, a first offense calls for imprisonment of up to on year while a second offense calls for a mandatory minimum of five days and a maximum of two years imprisonment.

Michael Phelps had his slate wiped clean after just 18 months of probation.

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