Jacksonville Defense Attorneys Fighting DUI Charges
A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida may result in serious consequences that impact your employment and personal life. In some cases, a DUI may be reduced to a “wet” reckless driving charge. The penalties for a reckless driving offense involving alcohol are less severe than a DUI conviction. In general, a wet reckless charge means the possibility of less jail time, a lower fine, and avoiding a driver license suspension. If you have been arrested for a wet reckless or DUI, a Jacksonville defense lawyer can protect your rights. At Ellis and Bryant, we can provide the guidance and defense representation you need to reach a satisfactory outcome in your case.
Wet Reckless Offenses in Florida
In Florida, reckless driving occurs when a person drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. When reckless driving is committed by a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the offense is known as a “wet” reckless. Wet reckless cases primarily arise in two situations. First, a person may be charged with reckless driving, if they allegedly drove under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but were not impaired to the point where a DUI charge is appropriate. Second, a wet reckless charge may be the result of a DUI plea deal. In a typical plea bargain case, the prosecution agrees to drop the DUI charge, and the defendant agrees to plead guilty to the reduced charge of wet reckless.
It is important to note that pleading to wet reckless may not be possible in every DUI case. A prosecutor is more likely to agree to a wet reckless plea for a first-time DUI case, in which no personal injuries or property damage occurred. Other factors that may favor a wet reckless plea include a low or borderline BAC level, an improperly administered breath or chemical test, a potentially unlawful traffic stop, or lack of evidence to secure a DUI conviction. In all cases, plea bargaining decisions should be made after your attorney has informed you of the details and you understand the significance of accepting the offer.
DUI vs Wet Reckless
When compared to a DUI conviction, the consequences of a reckless driving plea are less severe. A reckless driving offense involving alcohol is punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for a first-time wet reckless offense may include up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine between $25 to $500. Second and subsequent reckless driving convictions carry penalties of up to six months incarceration and/or fine between $50 to $1000. In addition, four points may be added to your Florida driver license record. Increased penalties may be imposed for reckless driving causing property damage, which is a first-degree misdemeanor, and reckless driving that results in serious bodily injury, which is a third degree felony. In addition to any penalties that are imposed, the court will order the defendant to complete a DUI program substance abuse education course and evaluation.
Unlike a DUI case, the court is not required to impose DUI school, community service hours, an additional fine, or any other conditions that would be mandatory for a conviction. Typically, you will not face a driver license revocation for a reckless driving plea. However, failure to attend a court-ordered DUI program or evaluation may result in a license suspension.
Discuss a Wet Reckless Charge with a Jacksonville DUI Lawyer
If you are facing charges for drunk or drugged driving, you can defend against the allegations with the help of a Jacksonville DUI attorney. At Ellis and Bryant, we have successfully represented defendants in wet reckless and DUI cases throughout Clay and Duval Counties, including Middleburg, Jacksonville Beach, and Orange Park. Our experienced lawyers are prepared to seek the best outcome possible in your case. Schedule a free consultation by calling Ellis and Bryant at (904) 551-4120 or contacting us online.