The Olympic swimmer was given a one-year suspended sentence and 18 months probation following his September arrest

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
December 19, 2014 04:35 PM
Patrick Semansky/AP

Celebrated Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps will avoid jail time after pleading guilty Friday to a drunken driving charge stemming from his arrest in September.

A Maryland district court judge gave the 22-time Olympic medalist a one-year suspended sentence and ordered him to serve 18 months of supervised probation, PEOPLE confirms.

The judge also ruled that Phelps, 29, should stay away from alcohol during his probation, submit to alcohol and drug testing as directed by his probation officer and attend self-help meetings.

“The last three months of my life have been some of the hardest times I’ve ever gone through,” Phelps said outside court Friday, per a video posted on The Baltimore Sun. “For this day, I’m happy to be moving forward. I’ll continue to grow from this.”

According to WBAL TV, Phelps walked into court with his mother, Debbie, and received support from Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, a longtime mentor who clutched a Bible while sitting two rows behind the fellow athlete in court.

Phelps made headlines this fall when he was arrested for DUI and other charges after police officers clocked him driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone just outside the Fort McHenry Tunnel in his white Range Rover. It was his second DUI arrest, the first occurring 10 years earlier.

Phelps’s lawyer reportedly told the judge Friday that the swimming superstar attended a 45-day in-patient treatment facility in Phoenix, and has been attending after-treatment at a facility in Towson, Maryland. He also said Phelps regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

The judge also allowed Phelps to travel for verified training and competitions, although USA Swimming suspended Phelps for six months following his September arrest.

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