A “wet and reckless,” often shortened to wet reckless, is a type of plea bargain where a prosecutor in Arizona agrees to reduce a misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI) charge down to a reckless driving charge. This can result in lesser penalties and reduced impacts on the defendant’s life, freedom and future.

What Does it Mean to Be Charged With a Wet and Reckless?

A wet and reckless charge, like a standard DUI, is a misdemeanor criminal offense in Arizona. However, it generally carries less serious penalties than a DUI. It falls under Arizona’s reckless driving statute (Arizona Revised Statute Section 28-693), which defines this crime as “a person who drives a vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

A wet and reckless charge on a person’s criminal record will be a reckless driving charge that includes a note that the offense involved alcohol or the use of drugs. This is the “wet” part of a wet reckless. Negotiating a driving under the influence charge down to a wet reckless can help an individual avoid having a DUI conviction on his or her permanent record.

What Is the Difference in Penalties Between a DUI and a Wet Reckless?

Reckless driving in Arizona is a class 2 misdemeanor that is generally punishable with a maximum of four months in jail, $750 in fines and two years of probation. By contrast, a DUI conviction can be sentenced with a mandatory 10 days in jail (up to 45 days for a super extreme DUI), a fine of at least $1,250 (plus substantial fees and surcharges), and mandatory driver’s license suspension.

Are You Eligible for a Wet and Reckless Plea Deal?

Not everyone who is arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Arizona is eligible for a reduction to a wet and reckless. While each situation is unique, a DUI defense attorney is more likely to be able to successfully negotiate a wet reckless plea if his or her client:

  • Is a first-time DUI offender
  • Had a relatively low blood alcohol content (BAC) level
  • Has no history of prior traffic offenses or moving violations
  • Did not cause a car accident or any property damage
  • Did not have aggravating circumstances, such as a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle

If a defense attorney believes that pursuing a wet and reckless charge is in a client’s best interest, the attorney can submit this plea during negotiations with the prosecution. If accepted, the defendant will have to accept responsibility by pleading guilty (or no contest) to the crime of reckless driving. The court will then dismiss the DUI charge.

The Benefits of a Wet and Reckless Plea Bargain

While trading one misdemeanor for another may not seem like it does much, if you have been charged with a DUI, accepting a wet and reckless plea deal can come with significant benefits. A wet reckless will come with a lighter sentence, such as:

  • No mandatory driver’s license suspension
  • No mandatory suspension of a commercial driver’s license
  • A shorter jail sentence
  • Less mandatory jail time if you are a repeat offender
  • A shorter probation period
  • Reduced fines and fees
  • Less mandatory hours in an alcohol education program
  • No mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device

In addition, a wet and reckless charge on your criminal record does not look as serious as a DUI. Taking this type of plea deal can help you avoid damage to your reputation as much as possible, which could benefit your relationships with friends, family, employers, schools and landlords.

Discuss Your DUI Defense Options With an Attorney in Arizona

While a wet reckless can come with many advantages over a DUI conviction, it can also have disadvantages. Some of the cons of a wet and reckless conviction include having to admit guilt, getting stuck with a criminal record and having it count as a prior if you get charged with a second DUI in the future. Discuss your legal options with an Arizona DUI attorney  for advice about your specific situation. Contact Corso Law Group today.

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