Being charged with a DUI offense often means a loss of driving privileges and criminal consequences, such as jail time. It will also remain permanently on your record, which could have serious implications for future employment. Under the right circumstances, it’s possible to plead a DUI charge down to a lesser offense, commonly known as a wet reckless charge. Almost every driver charged with a DUI wants their case reduced to a wet reckless driving but it does not often happen. To get the desired results, you need to handle your case the right way.
What is a Wet Reckless?
An alcohol-related reckless driving charge, also known as a “wet reckless” charge, carries less severe consequences than a standard DUI. In certain circumstances, your lawyer might be able to secure a plea bargain agreeing to a wet reckless charge, but it will depend on the circumstances of your arrest. Set your expectations right away, first-time general impairment charges are likely the only kinds of DUI charges that have a chance of being pleaded down to a lesser charge. Nevertheless, every case is unique and you should consult with your attorney about the possibility of a wet reckless plea.
Why Would I Want a Wet Reckless?
A wet reckless has far less consequences than does a DUI. Thus it should be an option worth considering. The factors influencing whether the prosecutor is likely to accept a plea to reduced charges include:
- How close your BAC is to .08% at the time of your arrest
- Whether your DUI involved an auto accident
- Whether you have prior DUI convictions
- Whether you have a criminal history or numerous prior traffic offenses
- Whether you’re facing additional charges, such as drug or open container violations, evading the police, fleeing the scene, or resisting arrest.
If you succeed in pleading to a lesser “wet reckless” charge, you’ll still face penalties. These can include:
- A minimum fine of $200
- Possible (though unlikely) jail time of up to 90 days
- Four points on your driving record
- Possible six-month license suspension for a first offense
- Alcohol education or treatment
What do I Need to do to Get a Wet Reckless?
First you have to understand what it is the prosecutor, i.e. the district attorney, wants. They are in the business of punishing people for their transgressions. They will not simple bestow upon you the gift of a wet reckless unless there are truly compelling reasons to do so, such as a evidentiary problem with the case. They won’t bend over backwards for you. Thus, you’ll have to fight your case, or at least posture yourself such that it appears as though you will fight. Beware; however, just because your are willing to fight doesn’t mean the prosecutor isn’t. In your attempt to better your position you may put yourself on a course to trial, where the consequences of being found guilty will be harsher than any initial plea deal you would have received.
Second, you absolutely must get a DUI lawyer. A prosecutor is not worried about you by yourself. You need someone advocating and fighting for you. A public defender or a court appointed attorney is not going to get you the same results, nor would they try to, a DUI lawyer of your own choosing would. To get a generous wet reckless plea you need a dedicated DUI lawyer working for you.
How Will a DUI Lawyer Help to get a Wet Reckless?
A DUI lawyer doesn’t just simply ask for a reduction in your DUI charge. The case as to why your case should be worked out to a wet reckless must first be established. Often a DUI lawyer will challenge whether the arrest, traffic stop, breath/blood test was legal. Your lawyer will challenge the errors made by the police and suppress any evidence obtained as a result of those errors.
Put yourself in the shoes of the prosecutor. You have numerous DUI cases, most of which you know you can win because the DUI laws are so favorable to the Commonwealth and harsh to the defendant. One of those cases has problems with it. The cops messed up. There is conflicting witness testimony. Evidence has been suppressed. Wouldn’t you offer a wet reckless to resolve that DUI case?