If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you may be able to work out a plea deal to a reckless driving charge. There are two types of reckless driving charges: standard reckless driving, which is also known as a dry reckless, and wet reckless driving. A wet reckless charge is essentially a reckless driving charge involving alcohol, and it’s only available in certain states.
The benefit of pleading down to a dry or wet reckless charge is that both carry less severe penalties than a DUI. Depending on your state and the circumstances of your case, a DUI could result in significant fines, a driver’s license suspension and possibly even jail time. Either type of reckless driving charge will have lesser penalties, with a dry reckless being less severe than a wet reckless. You can also get reckless driving charges expunged from your record. A reckless driving charge isn’t as detrimental to your driving record as a DUI, which makes it difficult to obtain car insurance.
Whether or not you’ll be able to plead to a lesser charge for your DUI case depends on your driving record and the evidence that the prosecution has. Prosecutors are much more likely to offer you a plea deal if there are issues with the case against you that could lead to the case getting dismissed or result in a not guilty verdict.
What types of issues can result in a better chance at a plea deal? Every part of your traffic stop and your arrest could contain something that you can use in your defense.
Did the officer have probable cause to pull you over in the first place? If so, were you showing signs of impairment, or did he give you a mandatory breathalyzer without any probable cause? Did you perform field sobriety tests, and if so, what aspects of your performance made the officer feel that you were impaired? A skilled defense attorney will examine the arresting officer’s conduct to see if he had probable cause for the actions that he took.
If the officer took your blood alcohol content (BAC) using a breathalyzer, when was the last time that the device was calibrated? A breathalyzer that wasn’t calibrated recently enough before your traffic stop can’t be relied on to provide an accurate reading. If that’s one of the main pieces of evidence against you, your defense attorney could get you a plea deal or possibly even get the case dismissed.
If you had your blood taken to check your BAC, was it someone who had been trained in drawing blood, or a police officer? There are many ways that a blood sample can produce an inaccurate BAC reading, including when isopropyl alcohol is used for sterilization before inserting the needle, and when the tube for the blood draw doesn’t have anticoagulants in it. How was the blood stored, and was a detailed log kept about who had possession of the blood at all times? A defense attorney will look for any possible mistakes made with your blood sample that could render the results unreliable.
Just because the prosecution lacks an airtight case doesn’t mean that they’ll drop it, but they could offer you a plea deal if they’re not confident in their chances at trial. Your best chance at getting a plea deal will be hiring a defense attorney to represent you and prepare your defense. DUI cases are complicated, and a defense attorney will have intricate knowledge of potential flaws in the prosecution’s case. Your defense attorney can look at the strengths and weaknesses in the evidence against you, and then use those weaknesses to negotiate a favorable plea deal. It’s never a sure thing that you’ll be able to get a DUI reduced to a reckless driving charge, but it’s far more likely when you have an attorney working for you.
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