DUI vs Wet and Reckless Convictions

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The phrase “Wet Reckless” refers to a special plea agreement for DUI/DWAI offenders in which the penalties are reduced to a lesser offense. During negotiations, you can be given a wet reckless, which is a lesser charge of reckless driving.

In Colorado, a wet reckless charge is preferable to a DUI or DWAI, but you will likely need to negotiate a lesser charge to end up with this offense. Even for first-time violators, it might be difficult to reach a plea deal that keeps a DUI or DWAI conviction off of their driving record.

Keep in mind that you should never accept this plea offer without first consulting with a DUI attorney. While a plea bargain may appear to be a way out, it is not always the best option. Before making this decision, you should consider how accepting a plea deal can impact your future.

Colorado DUI Charges

Under Colorado’s Drunk Driving Laws, the penalties for driving while drunk can be extremely harsh. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is usually limited to 0.08%. If a police officer pulls you over in Colorado while you are driving and your BAC is over 0.08%, you will be arrested and charged with a DUI.

Penalties for DUI in Colorado

It’s possible to lose your license for a year and pay a fine of $300 to $1,000 for a first-time DUI conviction, in addition to spending anywhere from five days to a year in jail. 

A second DUI conviction can lead to a one-year license suspension, a $500-$1,500 fine, and 90 days to a year in prison. The penalties for repeat offenders can increase both in terms of financial cost and potential time spent behind bars.

Wet Reckless Charge Penalties

The prosecution may propose a lesser charge of “wet reckless” in exchange for a guilty plea from a defendant charged with driving under the influence. A prosecution may propose a plea deal in which the DUI charge is dropped in favor of reckless driving. 

A charge of reckless driving is significant, although it is not as serious as a charge of driving under the influence. Prosecutors will offer this deal to avoid the long, complicated trials that often come with a DUI charge.

As an alternative to driving under the influence, wet reckless charges are less serious. As a general rule, first-time offenders facing accusations of reckless driving risk a maximum of 90 days in jail and a fine of $300.

Reasons You Might Be Able to Negotiate a Reduced Wet Reckless Charge

Even if this is your first DUI conviction, securing a wet reckless plea bargain is challenging. Unless the prosecution has problems establishing your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the District Attorney will not propose such a deal.

Among the possible grounds for obtaining a plea bargain are:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at or below the legal limit of.08 percent.
  • Test results of breath and blood have shown discrepancies.
  • Legal questions of probable cause and reasonable suspicion exist.
  • Involuntary intoxication: you unknowingly ingested an intoxicating liquor or drug, by force or fraud

Advantages of a Wet Reckless Plea Bargain in Colorado

A wet reckless plea includes the following advantages:

  • The maximum penalties for wet reckless driving is considerably less than that for DUI
  • There is no obligatory term of imprisonment
  • The period of your probation is less severe than a DUI
  • Possible community service requirements are often lower than those assigned to DUI offenses

The DMV Actions Based on a Wet Reckless

The DMV Track and the Criminal Court Track of a typical DUI operate independently of one another. While the conviction for wet reckless may not result in a point suspension, the DMV may still attempt to revoke the defendant’s driver’s license based on the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) result in the case or the refusal to take a test at all.

If a request for a DMV hearing is not submitted within 7 days following an arrest, it will be denied. Regardless of whether the defendant eventually pleads guilty to wet reckless driving in criminal court, missing this deadline will result in the suspension of his or her driving privileges.

Learn About Your Conviction for Reckless Driving

A reckless driving conviction may be preferable to a DUI conviction, but it still has serious consequences. This offense is typically related to driving that results in major accidents or is deemed especially risky.

Under Colorado law, reckless driving is a Class 2 traffic misdemeanor, which is a serious traffic crime. It is also deemed a repeat traffic violation. If you are convicted of driving recklessly, eight points will be added to your drivers license. The obligatory minimum prison sentence for second and subsequent convictions is ten days.

Please note that taking a wet reckless plea offer does not remove or alter any license revocations or suspensions imposed by the Colorado DMV for driving with a high blood alcohol concentration or for refusing a chemical test.

A DUI Attorney Is Your Best Option for Advice and a Better Outcome

Getting a wet reckless offer is incredibly tough, and it’s virtually impossible to do it without the aid of a qualified DUI attorney who is fully conversant with Colorado law. You should be wary of any attorney offering a wet reckless on the initial consultation without reading your discovery. 

Unless you have a very low blood alcohol level and no past history, a competent attorney will first analyze all of the facts involved with your case to determine if reduced charges are even feasible.

Wet reckless offers are just one more reason why anybody facing DUI or DWAI charges in Colorado should seriously consider retaining the services of a DUI lawyer. Having Christian Schwaner on your side can help you receive the best result possible.

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