Fakih pleads no contest for impaired driving

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The first Arab-American crowned Miss USA pleaded no contest April 11 to charges on driving while visibly impaired.

Rima Fakih, 26, from Dearborn and now living in California, was charged in December 2011, with drunken driving, careless driving and having an open container of alcohol, according to published reports.

Thirtieth District Court Judge Brigette Officer accepted the no contest plea. Fakih’s sentencing is set for May 9.

She faces a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail.

Her Detroit-based lawyer, Otis Culpepper, said she will probably be sentenced to probation, which could be served in California where she is looking for work in the entertainment industry.

“(Fakih will) get back to California and get on with being a Hollywood kind of person,” Culpepper said.

Fakih was born in Lebanon and moved to Michigan as a young child. She said she is going to move on and make sure she learns from her lessons.

“You learn, you pay your price for making mistakes and you move on,” Fakih told the media outside the courthouse. “I’m very happy I can put this behind me.”

According to published reports, Fakih said she wasn’t drinking the night of her arrest in December in Highland Park, but two police breath tests put her blood alcohol content at more than two times the legal limit.

One breath test put her blood alcohol content at 0.20 percent and another put it at 0.19 percent, the report said. The legal limit in Michigan is 0.08 percent.

Police said Fakih was driving 60 mph in a 30 mph zone weaving throughout traffic before they pulled her over. Officers found an open bottle of champagne behind the driver’s seat of her vehicle.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com.)