What is a Virginia wet reckless?

If you’re facing a Virginia DUI, you may have heard the term “wet reckless.” If your attorney is telling you that it may be an option in your case, read this article to better understand its benefits.

What is a wet reckless?

You won’t find the term “wet reckless” in a Virginia code book or other law book.  It’s a term of art we lawyers use (at least here in Northern Virginia) to describe a particular type of DUI plea agreement.  While the specifics may differ depending on the jurisdiction, a wet reckless means that you agree to have your DUI charge amended to a reckless driving, you are convicted of that reckless driving, but then you are punished as if you were convicted of a DUI.

Such punishments may include:

If I’m being punished like a DUI, why does a wet reckless matter?

The main benefit of a wet reckless is avoiding a DUI conviction. Having a DUI conviction on your record can have a lot of direct and collateral consequences.  While a reckless driving is still a Class I misdemeanor, DUIs are worse for your record. 

Indeed, a DUI conviction can set you up for enhanced punishments if you were to get a second or subsequent DUI.  Further, if you face other alcohol related offenses later on, prior DUIs will likely cause a prosecutor to treat your future case(s) more harshly.

Another benefit of a wet reckless is, unlike a DUI, your license can only be suspended for six months. Therefore, while you’ll likely still have to get an ignition interlock or drive for limited purposes, typically this will be for half the time.

As we’ve written before, when you get a DUI conviction, you should expect your auto insurance premiums to increase substantially. (Of course, your premiums will likely go up for a wet reckless, but likely not as much as for a DUI).

What are some downsides of a wet reckless?

Of course, a wet reckless doesn’t mean that you are free and clear.  You will still be convicted of a criminal offense and face similar punishments as a DUI.  So, before you accept a wet reckless you should talk with your attorney in greater detail.

Should I accept a wet reckless if it’s offered?

As with most answers from attorneys, it depends. To be clear, a wet reckless for a typical Virginia DUI is usually a solid outcome.  However, in some instances, it may not be your best option.  Indeed, in cases where they prosecutor is offering a wet reckless because there are factual or legal issues with there case that make it difficult for them to secure a DUI conviction, you may be in a better position by simply going to trial.

However, if you choose to reject a wet reckless offer, at Abrenio Law, we believe that you need to have a very frank discussion with your attorney.  Because if you reject the offer, and choose to go to trial, you will be convicted if you lose. So, there are real consequences of refusing a wet reckless.

Still have questions?

Make sure to check out our Virginia DUI Practice Page where we’ve answered many other questions you likely have.  James Abrenio is a Fairfax-Based Personal Injury & Criminal Defense attorney who practices throughout Northern Virginia. You can learn more about James Abrenio, some of our Prior Results, and Read Our Reviews.  Make sure to contact us at Ph. 703-570-4180 for your Free Consultation.