When a plea bargain results in reduced criminal charges for a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest, it is commonly referred to as a "wet reckless" offense. Pleading guilty to wet reckless charges carries consequences that are far less harsh than traditional DUI convictions.
Not all DUI arrests may be reduced to wet reckless charges. Florida Statute § 316.656 establishes that a judge cannot accept a plea of guilty to a lesser offense from a person charged with DUI who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 percent or more or was also accused of manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle or vehicular homicide.Attorney for Wet Reckless Arrests in Broward County, FL
Were you recently arrested for DUI in South Florida? You should contact The Hoffman Firm as soon as possible to see if you might be eligible to possibly have your drunk driving charges reduced to a wet reckless offense.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer Evan A. Hoffman defends clients accused of DUI offenses in communities throughout the greater Broward County area, such as Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Cooper City, Miramar, and several others.
You can have our attorney review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (954) 524-4474 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Overview of Wet Reckless Crimes in Fort Lauderdale
- When might a person be eligible to have DUI charges reduced to wet reckless?
- How are wet reckless convictions different from DUI convictions?
- Where can I find more information about wet reckless in Broward County?
Wet Reckless Charges in Florida
Under Florida Statute § 316.193, a person is guilty of DUI when he or she is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and either is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired; or has a BAC of 0.08 or greater. Prosecutors must prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict the alleged offender of a DUI offense.
A prosecutor may be more willing to reduce the criminal charges when he or she does not have sufficient evidence to prove that the alleged offender was legally intoxicated. Some of the most common reasons that DUI charges are reduced to wet reckless offenses include, but are not limited to:
- Alleged offender’s BAC was less than 0.08;
- Improperly administered chemical tests;
- Improperly calibrated breath test device;
- Dashboard camera video footage shows alleged offender did not exhibit any signs that his or her normal faculties were impaired; or
- Unlawful traffic stop.
Wet Reckless Penalties in Broward County
Because a wet reckless conviction relates to the criminal charge of reckless driving rather than DUI, the possible punishments that an alleged offender may receive are much less severe. While convictions for either crime can result in a person being ordered to complete a DUI substance abuse education course and evaluation, reckless driving is a second-degree misdemeanor instead of the first-degree misdemeanor offense that most DUIs are charged as.
Some of the other penalty differences include:
- Fine of up to $500 for reckless driving instead of the maximum fine of $1,000 for DUI; and
- Up to 90 days in jail for reckless driving instead of the maximum sentence of six months for DUI.
Additionally, a reckless driving conviction does not involve any revocation of an alleged offender's driver's license or requirement to perform community service. A wet reckless conviction can result in four points being added to an individual's Florida driving record, but no points will be added if the court withholds adjudication.
In such cases, alleged offenders can also be eligible to seal their criminal records—an option not afforded to people convicted of DUI. It is important to note, however, that a wet reckless conviction does count as a previous DUI offense if the individual is arrested for any subsequent drunk driving crime.
Florida Wet Reckless Resources
Florida Statute § 316.192 — View the full text of the Florida state law for reckless driving. Subsection (5) covers offenses involving the use of alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances. In such cases, the court is required to direct the convicted person to complete a DUI program substance abuse education course and evaluation.
Licensed DUI Programs in Florida | Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) — Visit this section of the FLHSMV website to view a complete listing of all licensed DUI programs statewide. Level I educational courses are for first-time offenders while Level II courses are for people with multiple offenses. Level I involves a minimum of 12 hours of classroom instruction while Level II has a minimum of 21 hours of classroom time.
If you were arrested in Broward County for DUI, it would be in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation. The Hoffman Firm represents individuals in Dania Beach, Lauderhill, Hallandale Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Margate, and many other surrounding areas of South Florida.
Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale who can investigate all the circumstances surrounding your drunk driving arrest and use any police errors or lack of evidence to possibly get the criminal charges reduced or completely dismissed.
Call (954) 524-4474 or fill out an online contact form to have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.