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Michael Phelps' DUI trial postponed while he seeks help

This week it was reported that the DUI trial involving Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps has been pushed back until mid-December. Phelps was arrested and charged with his second drunk driving arrest on September 30 after allegedly driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone.

The 29-year-old, who is the most decorated Olympic athlete in history, announced days later that he would be seeking treatment through a six-week, in-patient rehabilitation program. It was reported that Phelps' BAC level was close to twice the legal limit to drive at the time of his arrest.

A hearing in the case was set to take place later this month, but Phelps' attorney asked for it to be postponed until next month, presumably because Phelps is still in treatment.

In addition to facing criminal charges, Phelps was also disciplined by USA Swimming, which banned him from the sport for six months as well as the world championships next summer.

Phelps' first DUI arrest came in 2004 when he was just 19 years old.

Phelps isn't the first person to achieve greatness at a young age and then stumble. Many young actors, musicians and athletes have had to deal with their share of legal problems while remaining in the limelight.

Phelps' decision to get help was a good one, and one that will likely be appreciated by the judge presiding over his DUI case. An important thing anyone facing a DUI charge should remember is that judges want to see that people are taking the charges seriously and making an effort to get help if they need it.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can offer guidance on the best action to take following a DUI arrest. It might be simply to fight the charges, or perhaps it could be something more proactive like attending a rehabilitation or counseling program.

Source: USA TODAY, "Michael Phelps' trial for DUI postponed until December," Nancy Armour, Nov. 5, 2014

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