Wet Reckless Compared to a DUI in Alabama

In Alabama, a person can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if they are found to be legally intoxicated behind the wheel of a vehicle. Legal intoxication occurs when a driver of a passenger vehicle has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or greater — 0.04% or greater for a driver of a commercial vehicle and just 0.02% or greater for a driver under the age of 21. A driver can also be arrested for a DUI if the arresting officer determines they are impaired by drugs or intoxicated by alcohol to any point in which driving becomes dangerous.

A DUI conviction in Alabama carries heavy penalties that can follow a person for years and years to come. In order to avoid some of the worst consequences of a DUI conviction, it might be possible to plead a DUI charge down to a wet reckless charge.

What is a Wet Reckless Charge?

By legal definitions, a wet reckless charge involves a driver who was arrested for reckless driving that was caused by the influence of alcohol. Although it seems quite similar to driving under the influence, it is important to note that a wet reckless charge does not necessarily label the driver as “legally intoxicated.” This slight difference in legal definitions allows the state to use a separate set of penalties for a wet reckless that is noticeably more lenient than the consequences of a DUI sentencing.

Three main benefits of a wet reckless conviction compared to a DUI conviction are:

  1. Lowered costs: A DUI conviction in Alabama can easily cost thousands and thousands of dollars once fines and fees are sorted out, especially if the driver had a particularly high BAC level or refused to submit to a mandatory chemical test. Wet reckless charges tend to cost mere fractions of that amount.
  2. No jail time: A person convicted of a DUI in Alabama will likely serve some time behind bars, even if it is just a few days. With a wet reckless plea, it may be possible to entirely avoid jail time in exchange for probation.
  3. Less obligations: DUI convictions are often paired with numerous other obligations as punishment. A convicted driver could be expected to go to DUI safety courses, install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle, complete community service, and so on. Most of these obligations are taken off the table with a wet reckless plea.

The benefits for a wet reckless plea are not enjoyed only by the defendant. The prosecution and the state will also enjoy the expedited processes involved with a wet reckless. Rather than having to spend time to land a conviction, a wet reckless plea concludes the entire process, usually during the initial arraignment. Indeed, a wet reckless plea is capable of securing reduced sentencing as a trade-off for saving the state resources that would have been used in investigations and a trial.

10+ Years of Defense Experience On Your Side

Tidwell Law Group, LLC and our Birmingham DUI attorney can help you decide if pleading for a wet reckless charge will be worth it in your case, or if you should try to defeat the DUI charges outright. We have been managing criminal defense cases for more than a decade and can put all of our insight and experience to good use for your own DUI proceedings. To get your defense case started or to learn more about wet reckless pleas in Alabama, contact our firm by calling 205.800.8596 and arranging a free consultation.

Categories: DUI