Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance can have severe consequences. Illinois DUI laws are strict and prosecutors are tough on people charged with DUIs. One way of minimizing the consequences of a DUI conviction is by getting your charges reduced to a wet reckless driving charge.
A wet reckless charge carries lighter penalties and does not lead to license suspension. It is a good option for some DUI cases, particularly if the prosecution’s case is strong. However, if there is a chance of an acquittal or getting your charges dropped completely, do not agree to a wet reckless plea before consulting a legal professional.
Hirsch Law Group
At Hirsch Law Group, our criminal defense attorneys are highly skilled at negotiation. We have helped hundreds of clients get their DUI charges reduced substantially and even dropped completely.
DUI convictions can ruin your life. With a criminal conviction, you will be subjected to constant background searches and face difficulties in everyday life. The only way to prevent these severe consequences is by hiring an experienced attorney from the beginning of your case.
The lawyers at Hirsch Law Group have worked as former prosecutors, and we know the tricks they use to secure a conviction. Our Illinois defense attorneys use their unique experience and skills to negotiate the charges down as much as possible. We will investigate your case thoroughly and provide an aggressive defense in your support.
Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation at 815-880-1134.
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Driving with a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.08% is forbidden under Illinois DUI laws. If you are a minor driver, there is a zero-tolerance policy toward drunk driving and you could be convicted with just 0.01% of alcohol in your blood. If you have a commercial driver’s license, the legal limit is 0.04%.
Because of the number of accidents and deaths caused by drunk driving on the roads of Illinois, DUI carries severe penalties. Being a criminal and traffic offense, those convicted face criminal consequences and will also lose their driving privileges.
The criminal penalties for a DUI depend on several factors, including your criminal history, whether this is a first offense, whether there were aggravating factors, and whether you have a regular or commercial driving license. For a first-time DUI conviction, you could face up to one year of jail time, fines of up to $2,500, and license suspension for at least six months.
If you have a prior DUI and are convicted a second time, you will face mandatory jail time of five days or ten days of community service, plus the penalties for a first-time DUI. You will also face mandatory license suspension for one year.
For subsequent DUI criminal convictions, the penalties are much harsher. A third DUI charge in Illinois is considered a felony, with a prison sentence ranging from three to seven years, plus a minimum fine of $2,500. A third DUI conviction will lead to license suspension for at least three years.
If you are a repeat offender and are convicted of subsequent DUIs, the penalties are extremely tough. You could face a lengthy prison sentence, fines of up to $25,000, and permanent license revocation.
When convicted of a DUI in Illinois, you receive a criminal record. With a criminal record, you must conduct a criminal background check in job, school, and loan applications. You must also submit this information to police officers and to any other organization that requests your criminal record.
Those with a criminal record face serious barriers in everyday life, which can make it difficult to move on from a DUI. A DUI conviction can also never be expunged from your record in Illinois, so you will deal with these consequences forever. If you are convicted of a felony DUI, you will lose some constitutional rights and find it difficult to leave the country.
What is a Wet Reckless Charge?
A wet reckless charge is a plea bargain often used in DUI cases. It is a charge of reckless driving involving alcohol. Reckless driving is a driving offense with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of property or other human beings. Things that can lead to a reckless driving charge include excessive speeding or recklessly overtaking other vehicles.
There are important differences between wet reckless and DUI charges. A wet reckless charge is a charge of reckless driving involving alcohol. This charge does not have the same consequences as a DUI, including license suspension and a permanent record. A wet reckless driving conviction will also not affect any future DUI charges you receive.
In comparison, a DUI, which is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, will remain on the driver’s criminal record permanently. If convicted of a DUI, there may be added consequences, such as DUI school, an ignition interlock device, and license revocation.
Penalties For a Wet Reckless Conviction
Reckless driving is a class A misdemeanor, like a first-time DUI. The penalties for this charge include up to one year in the county jail and fines of up to $2,500. Unlike a DUI, a wet reckless conviction will not lead to an administrative suspension of your driver’s license and will not affect future DUI arrests.
Consequences of a Wet Reckless Conviction
Although a wet reckless charge may be more favorable than a DUI sometimes, there are still serious consequences of a wet reckless driving conviction. If you plead guilty to reckless driving, you give up your ability to defend yourself in court. This means you cannot appeal the court’s decision and you will have a criminal record for several years.
The consequences of a criminal record for a wet reckless conviction are the same as those for a DUI charge. With a criminal record, you will face difficulties accessing employment, getting a loan from a financial institution, getting a place in university, and accessing public housing. Those with a criminal record also often face prejudice in their daily lives.
Because a wet reckless charge is added to your driving record, your insurance company may increase their premiums. Depending on whether you have prior offenses on your record, your premiums could increase substantially, which can be a huge financial burden. The average increase for a reckless driving charge in Illinois is over 90%.
Advantages of a Wet Reckless Plea
Often, DUI charges in Illinois get reduced to a wet reckless plea, as it is less serious than a DUI conviction. If the prosecution’s case is weak or you had a low blood alcohol content at the DUI arrest, the prosecutor may ask you to plead guilty to a wet reckless charge to avoid the penalties of a DUI.
The advantages of a wet reckless plea include:
- No license suspension – Unlike a DUI, a wet reckless driving conviction does not lead to the suspension of your driver’s license. Authorities are not required to schedule a DMV hearing and you do not need a restricted license to go to work.
- No ignition interlock device (IID) – With a DUI, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for several months or years. However, there is no requirement to install an IID with a wet reckless conviction.
- Shorter county jail sentence – Although a wet reckless is charged as a class A misdemeanor, which has the same penalties as a first-time DUI, most jail sentences are reduced to probation. If you can get a second DUI reduced to a wet reckless, you will face a shorter jail sentence.
- Lower fines – A wet reckless has much lower fines than a DUI. Those convicted of a wet reckless charge often pay just one-third of the costs of a DUI. This is because there are extra costs of a DUI, such as penalty assessments and license reinstatement fees.
- Driving record – A wet reckless charge will be added to your driving record. However, it will not affect any future DUIs that you receive.
If you are considering pleading guilty to a wet reckless charge, it is important to consider the consequences and the advantages. At Hirsch Law Group, we strongly advise speaking with an attorney before accepting a plea bargain.
If the prosecutor is offering a wet reckless charge, it often means their case is weak and they do not have enough evidence against you to secure a conviction.
When a DUI Can Be Downgraded to a Wet Reckless
As noted previously, a DUI charge may be downgraded to a wet reckless charge in certain circumstances. The prosecutor may suggest pleading guilty to a wet reckless charge if they have insufficient evidence if your blood alcohol content was low at the time of the arrest. Some factors that will affect whether a wet reckless plea can be used in your case include:
- If you have a prior DUI.
- If you are facing other charges relating to the DUI arrest, such as resisting arrest or reckless driving causing great bodily harm.
- Your BAC at the time of the arrest.
- Your history of other traffic or criminal offenses.
If it is your first DUI and you have no prior convictions, a wet reckless charge may not be the best option for you. Many first-time DUI cases can be reduced to a traffic offense or dropped completely with the help of an experienced attorney.
However, if you accept a wet reckless plea bargain from the prosecutor, you give up your right to fight against the charges.
Should I Hire an Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the first thing you should do is contact a criminal defense attorney. Most people arrested for a DUI have no previous experience with the legal system and do not have knowledge of traffic laws and the criminal justice system. Because of this, prosecutors often offer a plea bargain of a wet reckless to prevent a criminal trial.
However, in a huge percentage of cases that we have dealt with at Hirsch Law Group, we have gotten the charges reduced lower than a wet reckless. Sometimes, we will advise our clients to accept a wet reckless plea or we will push the prosecutor for a wet reckless over a DUI. However, this is only in unique circumstances, when a person has prior DUI convictions or there is enough evidence against them for a conviction.
In other cases, our lawyers will fight to get your charges reduced further than a wet reckless. Our law firm has seen firsthand the consequences of receiving a criminal conviction, and we want to protect your future. The best way to ensure that you get the best result in a DUI case is by hiring an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney.
Wet Reckless vs DUI – Contact The Criminal Defense Attorneys at Hirsch Law Group Today!
Wet reckless and DUI are both criminal charges under Illinois law. The severity of these charges differs, and you will face tougher consequences for a DUI conviction, such as higher fines and license suspension. However, if you are considering pleading guilty to a wet reckless to avoid having your license suspended, we recommend contacting our law firm first.
At Hirsch Law Group, we have the experience and skills necessary to help get the best possible outcome for your case. We have worked as former prosecutors, so we know that consulting a lawyer before accepting a plea deal is always the best option. Prosecutors and police officers do not care about your future, and they will easily convince you to sign a plea bargain to prevent a trial.
Our criminal defense attorneys will help you by investigating your case, assessing whether your rights were respected during the DUI arrest, evaluating the evidence against you, and negotiating a fair plea bargain. If a wet reckless charge is the best option for your case, we will advise you to take this option. However, if we can get the charges reduced further, or the case dropped completely, we will ensure to do so.
When dealing with the criminal justice system, you need an attorney that cares about your future by your side. That is why you should contact Hirsch Law Group.
Call us today for a free consultation at 815-880-1134.