It’s a relatively short drive from Leesburg to the spot where the man with the most gold medals in Olympic history was pulled over by police. Baltimore native Michael Phelps was stopped for speeding; police say he going nearly 40 mph over the limit in Fort McHenry Tunnel on Interstate 95.
The record-breaking swimmer was also accused of crossing double yellow lines and after failing field sobriety tests, he was charged with drunk driving.
Phelps had a DUI conviction a decade ago. Because he was arrested in his home state, the potential penalties he faces there are not as harsh as they would be here in Virginia.
According to the Associated Press, in Maryland, Phelps faces up to a maximum year in jail and the loss of his driver’s license for six months. In Virginia, as a second-time offender, he would face driver’s license revocation for three years, along with the possible year-long stint in jail.
In Maryland, there’s no added penalty for being a second offender if the second offense happens at least five years after the first. In Virginia, a second offense within 10 years means you get a mandatory minimum 10-day jail term.
Even though we’re a stone’s throw from Maryland, there is a vast difference in how the two states treat DUI offenders.
Phelps was reportedly planning a comeback that was to culminate in a return to the Olympics in two years. It is not yet known how this latest brush with the law will affect his dream of participating in a fifth Olympics games.
There’s little doubt that Phelps will retain attorneys experienced in DUI cases to help him minimize the impact of the arrest on his life and plans.
Source: TimesDispatch.com, “Phelps apologizes after another brush with the law,” Paul Newberry, Oct. 1, 2014