Is a “Wet Reckless” plea a good alternative to a Drunk Driving Charge?
WET RECKLESS DRIVING VS. DUI CONVICTION
Our law firm defends individuals charged with drunk driving (DUI/DWI) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, people often assume incorrectly that reckless driving (Title 75 Section 3736) and careless driving (Title 75 Section 3714) is the same thing. It’s important to understand that careless driving is where a person drives a vehicle in careless disregard for the safety of a person or property. Careless driving is a summary offense and the maximum punishment is 90 days in jail, incarceration is unlikely. It will, however, result in the minimum $250 fine if it causes serious bodily injury and a $500 fine if it causes death. Careless driving will also result in 3 driver’s license points.
Reckless driving is much more serious! It is the willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. It will result in a minimum $200 fine and, more importantly, a 6 month driver’s license suspension. Once the suspension is over the person will have 5 points on their driver’s license and will have to pay the cost of the restoration fee to the Commonwealth. Read my article Five Ways to Lose Your License in PA Without a DUI for more information.
Is a “wet reckless” an alternative to a drunk driving conviction?
If you’re charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, the goal is obviously to obtain and acquittal or for the case to be dismissed through a pre-trial motion to suppress evidence based on a lack of probable cause to arrest or stop the vehicle. While our law firm strives to achieve either of these results in our criminal cases, there are situations where we have to provide a client with alternatives. Remember that there are 9 types of DUI in Pennsylvania and so our advice will be based on what type of DUI you’re charged with.
A “wet reckless” plea is sometimes an alternative where you’re charged with 3802(a)(1) with or without accident and the Commonwealth doesn’t have any evidence related to your blood alcohol concentration either through a breathalyzer or a blood test.
As I have written in many articles, you can be convicted of a DUI even if the prosecution doesn’t’ present chemical evidence based on a general impairment charge based on 3802(a)(1) or 3802(d)(2) or (d)(3). Under 3802(a)(1) without accident you do not face a license suspension so a “wet reckless” DUI would not be a good alternative. Under 3802(a)(1) with accident, you not only face a 12 month license suspension but a mandatory minimum 2 days in jail. A plea to wet reckless charge might be a better option but you’re criminal lawyer must still evaluate the case.
Under 3802(d)(2) and (d)(3) you face a 12 month license suspension and 3 days in jail. In these situations a “wet reckless” DUI may be a good alternative as it only involves a 6 month license suspension, no mandatory minimum jail, and possibly less of an insurance increase.
What Should Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Consider?
You and your criminal defense attorney should consider several things to determine if a “wet reckless” is a good alternative in your case:
- Does your DUI involve an accident?
- Probability of Success of Pre-Trial Motion to Suppress
- Are you eligible for a diversion program (ARD)?
- Do you have prior DUI’s?
- What is your
- Currently on probation?
- Prior Drunk Driving Convictions
- What additional charges do you face? Such as illegal possession of drugs, possession with the intent to distribute (PWID), along with alluding or evading police.
Like any criminal charge it is important that you meet with your criminal defense lawyer and discuss your options. For more information please contact our law firm.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Drunk Driving Lawyers in PA & NJ
Please click here to contact our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers. We offer free case reviews and serve the following areas in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Atlantic City, Camden, Cherry Hill, Chester, Conshohocken, Doylestown, Media, Norristown, Philadelphia, Pottstown, Salem, Upper Darby, Upper Merion, Upper Providence, Vineland & Woodbury areas.