What Is A “Wet Reckless” Charge And Is It Better Than a DUI?

Facing DUI charges in Colorado? Prosecutors may offer a plea bargain to a lesser wet reckless charge. What does that mean? And who is eligible for this plea?
Monday, 10 May 2021
Should You Take A First Time Misdemeanor Seriously? Should You Take A First Time Misdemeanor Seriously?

Better Still Isn’t Good When It Comes To Driving and Alcohol 

While better than facing a DUI charge, a wet reckless charge in Colorado isn't exactly a slap on the wrist. It is indeed a lesser offense than DUI, but a wet reckless conviction on your record will still cost you a lot. 

What Is A “Wet Reckless” Charge In Colorado?

Colorado’s criminal statutes have no distinct offense called “wet reckless.” Rather, Colorado law defines reckless driving as driving “in such a manner as to indicate either a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Simply put, reckless driving is illegal.

The “wet” designation added to reckless driving means that a driver’s “wanton and reckless disregard” for others’ safety involves the driver’s consumption of alcohol.

Prosecutors Will Charge You With DUI. Your Defense Lawyer May Get You A Wet Reckless.

If Colorado Springs police arrest you for suspicion of driving under the influence and you test over the legal limit (.08 BAC), El Paso County prosecutors will charge you with DUI, not with a wet reckless charge. However, depending on the specific circumstances of your case, your previous driving record, and the skill of your DUI defense attorney, prosecutors may agree to a plea bargain in which they reduce the DUI charges against you to a wet reckless charge.

Who Can Get Their DUI Reduced To a Wet Reckless Charge? 

Entering into a plea agreement with El Paso County prosecutors to reduce the charges against you from a DUI to a wet reckless charge are much more likely if:

  • This is a first-time DUI charge;
  • No one was injured or killed while you were driving under the influence;
  • No property damage was incurred; and 
  • Your blood alcohol content was at or just slightly over the legal limit.

However, if you have faced DUI charges in the past, or you injured or killed someone while driving under the influence, the odds of prosecutors agreeing to reduce your DUI to a wet reckless are slim to none.  

Consequences of a Wet Reckless Conviction

The consequences of agreeing to plead guilty to a wet reckless charge are significantly less harsh than the penalties upon conviction for DUI. You likely won’t receive any jail time, and you won’t have a DUI on your record – at least for the moment. However, if prosecutors later bring charges against you for a different DUI, your earlier wet reckless plea will be converted to a DUI conviction. This means that you will face the more severe penalties that come with a second or subsequent DUI conviction.

Reckless driving in itself is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense that comes with a possible penalty of between 10 and 90 days in jail and/or fines of between $150 and $300. Your driving record will take a hit of 8 points for a first offense, and combined with other traffic convictions, can result in the suspension of your driver’s license. And, each subsequent reckless driving conviction will result in even stiffer penalties.

If you face a Colorado Springs DUI charge, the choices you make and the actions you take will have long-term consequences. Deciding whether to enter into a plea agreement with prosecutors is a serious decision with serious implications. And it certainly isn’t a given that El Paso County prosecutors will agree to reduce your DUI to a wet reckless charge, even if you meet the qualifications stated above.

James Newby: Aggressive Colorado Springs DUI Defense Lawyer

Speaking with an experienced Colorado Springs DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest is the best way to protect yourself from unintentional mistakes, understand your options, and give you the best chance of a positive outcome.

Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney James Newby uses the experience and insights he gained as a former DUI prosecutor to defend individuals facing the traumatic ordeal of DUI charges. Attacking the prosecution’s case at every turn, he looks for every possible weakness, mistake, or procedural error by police to put his clients in the best position to obtain a favorable outcome. This includes working with prosecutors to reduce DUI charges to a lesser offense whenever possible and prudent. And, with close to 200 5-star Google reviews, you can be assured that you are working with the best DUI attorney in Southern Colorado.

No matter how grim things may look to you, there is always hope. Give me James Newby a call today at (719) 247-2700 or fill out his online form to arrange for your free, confidential initial DUI consultation

Additional Reading Regarding Colorado DUI Defense:

Can You Get A DUI Off Your Record In Colorado?

Top DUI Lawyer Questions In Colorado Springs

Powerful Defenses Against Breathalyzer Evidence

Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Attorney James NewbyCall us (719) 247-2700

Or click to email us for a free consultation with Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Attorney James Newby.

James Newby Law
128 S Tejon St #402
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Office Hours: M-F 8:30am - 5:00pm
Appointments available 24/7