Wet reckless driving possibility still needs you to be ready for a DUI trial
Wet reckless driving is a better disposition than a Virginia DUI conviction, and an acquittal or dismissal is even better
Wet reckless driving (WR) is not a term of art, but a description for a plea offer sometimes extended by prosecutors who either are concerned about the strength of their Virginia DUI case (prosecuted under Virginia Code § 18.2-266) or have concluded that the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) reading together with surrounding circumstances either justifies such a disposition or makes sense to see if the time it takes to handle a trial can be avoided over such a low BAC result. As a Fairfax DUI lawyer I always proceed to any case plea and dismissal negotiations from the position of strength from full trial readiness, with all defense witnesses and evidence at the ready. Never should a Virginia DUI or criminal defendant cede his or her power to the prosecutor by cutting corners with trial preparation, by hoping or expecting that the prosecutor will extend a particular settlement offer, when a prosecutor has no obligation to extend any offer at all in the first place. Moreover, what if the judge rejects this or other settlement negotiations? The defense always needs to be trial ready.
What is wet reckless driving disposition?
As described in further detail by me in the following link, wet reckless driving typically involves a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution whereby a Virginia DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs) charge is amended to reckless driving generally under Va. Code § 46.2-852 in exchange for a year of probation, a suspended jail sentence, a fine (sometimes adding a suspended portion to the active fine), completing the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program / VASAP (which organization I advocate abolishing and replacing with free market alternatives), getting one’s license suspended for six months with restricted driving privileges, and possibly such additional conditions as a night or two in jail and attendance at an evening victim impact panel organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (which I object to for MADD’s being a highly partisan organization pushing for unreasonably stricter DUI laws, as opposed to organizations that whose agendas are helping the defendants.)
Is WR always better than simply going to trial against a Virginia DUI charge?
Sometimes going to trial against a Virginia DUI prosecution is better than accepting a wet reckless offer. First, your Virginia DUI lawyer needs to advise you of your chances of winning at trial versus the costs and benefits of proceeding with a guilty plea or no contest plea deal. Second, a wet reckless driving plea offer is not always the last offer to which the prosecutor will agree. Only recently, when a prosecutor and police officer tried to make a wet reckless offer sound attractive in a DUI under the influence of THC / marijuana case (which can be hard for prosecutors to win), I instead achieved a plea to the infraction / non-crime of improper driving, which was better than the possibility of the prosecutor’s adding a charge of reckless driving to the existing DUI charge, in what was a rather serious accident property damage-wise, that may not have survived an argument about the Virginia caselaw that confirms that the mere happening of a car accident is not sufficient by itself to lead to a conviction for reckless driving. Criminal and DWI plea negotiations are assisted for the accused when the prosecutor knows that the defendant’s default is to proceed to trial absent a settlement deal that the defendant wants.
What are the potentially adverse collateral consequences of a WR disposition?
Before breathing an immediate sigh of relief over a wet reckless driving plea offer, it is important for you to know how such a disposition (and any active jail time attached to it) will impact your employment, commercial drivers license/ CDL, status as a uniformed military member, security clearance, immigration status (if in the United States without lawful a visa) and your ability to obtain travel visas abroad. Help reduce those risks by obtaining a qualified Virginia DUI defense lawyer and by checking in advance the possible adverse collateral consequences of a DUI or reckless driving conviction.
Fairfax DUI lawyer Jonathan L. Katz recognizes DWI prosecutions for the very serious animal that they are, and represents such defendants — and all people who are criminally accused — with full zeal backed up by extensive trial experience, knowledge, preparation and killer instinct. Just one visit with Jon Katz will tell you the positive difference he can make to your defense. Call 703-383-1100 for a free in-person consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case. We usually can set you in quickly for an appointment.