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Ex-Miss USA fined for drink driving

Rima Fakih, the first Arab-American to be crowned Miss USA, has been given probation and community service for drunken driving.

The 26-year-old must also attend an alcohol safety class. She pleaded no contest in a Michigan court last month to driving while visibly impaired.

She has said she was not drinking on the night of her arrest in December, but two police breath tests put Fakih's blood alcohol content at more than twice the legal limit.

She was crowned Miss USA in 2010.

Fakih, who could have been jailed for the offence, was given six months' probation, 20 hours of community service and fined 600 dollars.

A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing. "I'm very relieved," Fakih said after the case. "I was willing to pay the price it took because I knew I made mistakes."

Fakih's family moved from Lebanon in 1993. She won the Miss USA Pageant in 2010. Supporters called her win a victory for diversity, saying it countered negative stereotypes about people of Middle Eastern descent that have flourished in post-September 11 America.

Police said Fakih was driving at twice the legal speed 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.

Fakih said the incident was out of character for her and that she did not take her first drink until aged 23. "It's not something that I grew up to be like a party girl or anything like that," she said.

Fakih said she plans to pursue careers in acting and public speaking. "I'm more of an international figure now. I have young girls and people from all over the world watching me, so I have to make sure that anything I do, I'm taking extra precaution," she said.


From Belfast Telegraph