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:
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.
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.
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