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Rima Fakih, former Miss USA, pleads no contest in drunk driving case

rima fakih
Miss Michigan Rima Fakih
AP Photo

(CBS/AP) HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. - Rima Fakih, the first Arab-American to be crowned Miss USA, pleaded no contest Wednesday in a Michigan drunk driving case.

Pictures: Former Miss USA Rima Fakih arrested

The former beauty queen offered the plea to driving while visibly impaired.

"You learn, you pay your price for making mistakes and you move on. I'm very happy I can put this behind me," Fakih, who was crowned Miss USA in 2010, said outside the court.

A no contest plea isn't an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing, which will take place May 9. She faces a maximum of 93 days in jail.

Her lawyer, W. Otis Culpepper, predicted that Fakih would be sentenced to probation, which he said she could serve in California, where she is pursuing opportunities in the entertainment industry. Fakih will "get back to California and get on with being a Hollywood kind of person," Culpepper said.

Fakih, 26, has said she wasn't drinking the night of her arrest in December. However, two police breath tests put her blood alcohol content at more than twice the legal limit.

Fakih's family moved to New York from Lebanon in 1993. Supporters described her Miss USA win as a victory for diversity, saying it countered negative stereotypes about people of Middle Eastern descent that have flourished in post-Sept. 11 America.

Police said Fakih was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic before they pulled her over, and officers found an open bottle of champagne behind the driver's seat of the 2011 Jaguar.

One breath test put her blood alcohol content at 0.20 percent and another put it at 0.19 percent. The legal limit is .08 percent.

  • Crimesider Staff

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