American swimmer Michael Phelps pleaded guilty on Friday for DUI charges. A Baltimore judge ruled that the Olympian is "powerless over alcohol" and sentenced him to be on supervised probation for 18 months.
Phelps was arrested for drunk driving on Sept. 30 after he was seen speeding way over the maximum speed limit and crossing the double yellow lines found inside a Baltimore tunnel. Police said he was driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone along the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore. His blood alcohol level had reached 0.14 percent. The legal limit in Maryland is 0.08 percent. He was charged with one year prison term and a fine of $1,000.
"The last three months of my life have been some of the hardest times I've ever gone through, some of the biggest learning experiences I've ever had," said Phelps. "I'm happy to be moving forward. I'll continue to grow from this."
The DUI case was the second for Phelps. In 2004, he was charged in Salisbury, Maryland for drunk driving. Phelps pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of driving while impaired and went through a probation for 18 months.
Phelps is also attending Alcoholics Anonymous sessions after he had successfully completed an intensive rehab program at the Meadows addiction treatment center in Arizona for 45 days. These circumstances were used by his defense lawyer as he pleaded the court for leniency. However, Steve Allen, his lawyer, seemed to be at a less arguing state when it comes to defending Phelps from Judge Nathan Braverman's description of Phelps when he used the word "powerless" to describe Phelps' alcohol drinking habit.
"It's really difficult to comment on that. I'm not an alcohol professional. He has gone through an intensive, 45-day alcohol treatment program, and he's in an intensive after care program to address those issues," said Allen.
Eighteen-time Olympic gold medalist Phelps is said to be eyeing a spot on the USA team in preparation for the 2016 Olympics. His case earned him a six month suspension by the USA Swimming team. Likewise, he was barred from being the U.S. representative to the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships in Russia.
Phelps must submit to regular drug and alcohol testing and attend self-help group meetings. He received a suspended jail sentence and was reminded to stay away from drugs and alcohol for the next 18 months as part of a supervised probation.