How to handle a DUI better than Michael Phelps

| October 3, 2014 | 1 Comment

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duiMichael Phelps. 18 Gold Medals. 22 Olympic Medals. 2 DUIs?

After an 8-hour gambling binge at the new Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Michael Phelps was pulled over under suspicion of drinking and driving the morning of Tuesday, September 30th. Michael Phelps does a lot of things right in the pool. However, when it comes to getting behind the wheel, he could use some help. Here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” on how to handle a DUI better than Michael Phelps.

First, don’t drink and drive. There are many alternatives to drinking and driving. The most obvious alternative is to abstain. You can also get a friend to drive you. Another alternative is to call a taxi or call Uber if it is available in your area. Michael Phelps has more than enough money to pay for transportation. Ryan Lochte, his swimming friend/foe even called him out for not getting a driver. There is no excuse for him not to have done this.

Second, don’t speed. You could kill someone. It is not smart and you are more likely to be pulled over by the police. Michael Phelps was going was going 84 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone. Speeding is the most common reason police pull someone over for a DUI in Maryland.

Third, don’t change lanes in any tunnel. This is illegal. Michael Phelps changed lanes in the Fort McHenry Tunnel right in front of a tractor trailer. This is not only illegal but incredibly stupid because he could have killed himself, let alone innocent bystanders. The police need only “reasonable suspicion” that you are intoxicated to pull you over. Make sure your turn signal is working if you need to change lanes in a legal area other than a tunnel.

Fourth, don’t perform the field sobriety tests. Michael Phelps performed 2 out of 3 field sobriety tests. He should not have done any of them. The field sobriety tests are completely subjective and you will likely not pass them. You are not required to take them.

The field sobriety tests are:

  1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagamus Test: This is when the police officer shines a light into your eyes and asks you to look at a pen. Even sober you will likely fail this test.
  2. Walk and Turn Test: It is what it sounds like. It is important that this is administered on a flat surface.
  3. One Legged Test: The subject needs to put his hands to his side and raise one leg six inches off the ground. According to court documents, Michael Phelps never made it to this test, saying “that’s not happening” when asked to perform it.

Fifth, do remember you have the right to remain silent. Obviously the police write down what you say during a stop. Michael Phelps’ statement “that’s not happening” will be used against him in a court of law.

Sixth, don’t take the Breathalyzer Test if you feel the police violated your rights or did not have probable cause to arrest you. Generally, if, and only if, there is adequate evidence that you are drinking and driving and you feel the police have properly notified you of your rights, should the average first time offender submit to the breathalyzer. The average first time offender’s license will be suspended for a shorter period of time and the administrative penalties are less harsh if they submit.

Seventh, do attempt to call an attorney as soon as possible. It is not known at this time when Michael Phelps called an attorney during or after his stop. You should attempt to consult an attorney before you take the breathalyzer. Unfortunately, a recent Maryland Court of Appeals case this past May curtails our right to an attorney before the breathalyzer is administered. You can call me at 443-494-9775 if you have questions on whether you should take the breathalyzer or not.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It does not create the attorney-client relationship. Please contact Scott MacMullan Law, LLC at 443-494-9775 if you seek legal advice.

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About the Author ()

As a native of Anne Arundel County, Scott MacMullan is the owner and founder of Scott MacMullan Law, LLC and is an Annapolis DUI Attorney. His connections to the local community, as well as his background working for two of the preeminent judges in Maryland, give him a unique perspective in court and puts his clients in a premier position as to the facts of their case. He focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense matters. He is passionate about helping his clients solve their problems and providing them with the maximum amount of compensation that they are entitled under the law. Call 443-494-9775 today to set up a case assessment.