DUI vs. Wet Reckless Charges
Posted By Salvador Phillips, PLLC || Apr 14, 2017
In Arizona, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or above. However, there may be exceptions for law enforcement officers to make a DUI arrest even if a motorists DUI is below .08. This includes situations where officers believe a person poses a danger to others, or when the suspect is a commercial driver or under the age of 21.
In some cases, especially those where a driver’s BAC is close to .08, there may be the opportunity to pursue a lower charge than DUI, such as a “wet reckless.” A wet reckless charge is a reduced DUI charge usually obtained through a plea bargain. They commonly result when BAC levels are near the legal limit or when the prosecution has a difficult time of proving all legal elements needed to satisfy a DUI conviction.
At Salvador Phillips, PLLC, our Phoenix DUI attorneys have handled numerous DUI cases across the state. In every case, we focus on thorough investigation and preparation to not only protect our clients’ rights, but to also help them secure the best possible resolution. Because we often hear questions about pleading a DUI down to a wet reckless, we want local residents to know that it may not always be an option.
Remember, every case is unique, and the individual facts of your arrest will determine whether or not a wet reckless plea is possible. Should it be an option, there are a few things you should know.
- Wet reckless – A wet reckless charge means that a person is being charged with, or pleading guilty to, reckless driving. The “wet” in wet reckless stems from the fact that a prosecutor will note for the court that alcohol was involved. However, the charge still remains reckless driving, which is a class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona as opposed to a class 1 misdemeanor for a DUI. This means that wet reckless convictions carry less severe penalties than DUIs, including smaller fines, lower maximum jail sentences, and shorter terms of probation.
- License suspension – Even those a wet reckless is not a DUI, motorists can still face repercussions to their driver’s license, including license suspensions. However, these suspensions are not automatic as they are in DUI cases, and they will not be more than 90 days.
- Prior convictions – Just as with DUIs, you can face elevated penalties for wet reckless if you have prior convictions for reckless driving. However, the lookback period of two years is shorter than the 10 year window for DUIs. As opposed to DUI cases, however, reckless driving cases do not impose enhancements if you have a prior DUI conviction within the past 10 years, because you are not pleading to a DUI.
- Not always an option – As a reminder, it must be noted that dropping a DUI to a wet reckless is not an option in every case. In fact, Arizona is notorious for strict DUI laws, and these include harsh restrictions for pleading cases down. Still, when prosecutors have weaker cases or when there are unique and extenuating circumstances involved, it may become an option and a tool for securing a positive resolution.
Exploring your options after being charged with a crime is critical to your fight for a positive outcome. At Salvador Phillips, PLLC, we have the experience, time, and resources to fully vet all available options in DUI cases, things that public defenders all too often lack in abundance. Due to the unique nature of wet reckless pleas and because they are dependent on the individual facts of a case, we encourage you to speak personally with a member of our team during a FREE and confidential consultation.
Contact us today to discuss your case.