Olympian Phelps Gets 18 Months Probation for DUI

michael phelps
Michael Phelps during the Men's 100Meter Butterfly final at the USA Swimming Nationals at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Complex. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - American swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, was sentenced on Friday to 18 months probation and a year suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to drunken driving.

The 18-time Olympic gold medalist was arrested for drunken driving early on Sept. 30 after speeding and then crossing the double-lane lines inside a Baltimore tunnel, police said.

The sentence was handed down by Baltimore City District Court Judge Nathan Braverman.

Phelps, 29, was clocked by radar around 1:40 a.m. traveling 84 miles per hour (135 kph) in a 45-mph (72-kph) zone, police said.

Phelps, who has won 22 Olympic medals and appears to be eyeing a spot on the U.S. team for the 2016 Olympics, blew a .14 on a Breathalyzer, nearly twice the legal limit of .08 in Maryland.

Police said an officer followed Phelps's 2014 Land Rover onto northbound Interstate 95, through the Fort McHenry Tunnel under Baltimore Harbor, and pulled him over just beyond the tunnel's toll plaza.

He faced up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The drunken-driving arrest was the second for Phelps, who has spent most his life working feverishly in the pool but admits he likes to have a good time when not competing.

Following his arrest, Phelps, who lives in Baltimore, was suspended for six months by USA Swimming and barred from representing the United States at the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships in Russia next August.

Phelps completed a six-week rehab program at an undisclosed treatment center following his arrest.

Emerging from a two-year retirement, Phelps first tested the comeback waters in April and his progress has been steady rather than his usual jaw-dropping.

Phelps was charged in Salisbury, Maryland, in 2004 for drunken driving when he was 19. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of driving while impaired in exchange for 18 months' probation.

British tabloids in 2009 published a photo of Phelps smoking from a marijuana pipe while at a party at the University of South Carolina.