Former Miss USA Rima Fakih was sentenced this morning to six months probation, 20 hours community service to be served in Highland Park and more than $600 in fines and costs. Fakih, 26, pleaded no contest last month in 30th District Court in Highland Park to driving while visibly impaired. Fakih must also attend an alcohol safety class and a victim impact class as part of her sentence.
Judge William McConico, who was sitting in today for Judge Brigette Officer, ordered Fakih to report to probation immediately. Fakih, who was crowned the first Arab American Miss USA, said her experience has humbled her and has caused her to think before she acts.
“My intention was not to drive drunk and put a lot of people in danger,” Fakih said. “It was very humbling and I had a lot of people by my side — family and friends — and you learn who’s there for you.”
Fakih added that she does not have a drinking problem. “My first drink was at a graduation party when I was 23 years old,” Fakih said. “I was not growing up drinking.”
Fakih’s attorney W. Otis Culpepper had indicated during a hearing in April that Fakih would serve probation in California, where she is currently living, but today announced that she chose to serve her probation in the Detroit area. “The judge would have allowed her to do it there, but she wants to deal with the communities in the area,” Culpepper said.
Fakih was arrested Dec. 3 after a Highland Park police officer said she was driving a black 2011 Jaguar XJR at a high rate of speed in the area of 6 Mile and Woodward. The officer said the car was traveling at 60 m.p.h., and that Fakih changed lanes several times without using a turn signal.
Police pulled her over in the area of Woodward and Highland. The officer said Fakih appeared disoriented and had slurred speech. Police found a wine bottle and an open bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne in the car, reports said. A breath test revealed she initially had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19%. The level at which someone can be convicted of drunken driving in Michigan is 0.08%.
As part of her community service sentence Fakih will speak to teens at Highland Park High School about the dangers of drunken driving. “This helped me from making a bigger mistake,” Fakih said. “I could have done something the same or similar which happens when you do stuff like that and never get caught.”
Fakih was born in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. at age 7. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Fakih said she is scheduled to appear on a celebrity dating show called “The Choice” on the Fox Network beginning June 7. The show will also feature Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh
SOURCE: Freep.com, 5/9/2012