We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Wet Reckless Charge?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A wet reckless charge is a charge that may be leveled against someone who exhibits recklessness while driving under the influence (DUI). Essentially, it is a charge of reckless driving compounded by the consumption of alcohol. Not all regions have wet reckless laws, but many do, largely to encourage people to plead guilty rather than forcing a case to go to trial and eating up large amounts of resources.

Essentially, a wet reckless charge is a step down from a DUI charge. The next step would be a "dry" reckless, which is a bit of a misnomer, since people who plead guilty to a dry reckless charge may still be asked to complete alcohol treatment programs. The "wet" charge is typically offered as a plea bargain choice; if someone agrees to plead guilty to it, the greater DUI charge will be dropped, and a penalty will quickly be determined without bringing the case to trial.

When someone pleads guilty to or is convicted on a wet reckless charge, he or she will have to pay a fine and go on probation. The charge usually goes on the record for 10 years, and the defendant may be asked to complete an alcohol treatment program; his or her license may also be suspended. In contrast, DUI charges always result in jail time, often making a plea deal appealing to a defendant who suspects that he or she will probably be convicted.

Pleading down to wet reckless does not allow the defendant to get away without major penalties, however. Insurance premiums generally go up when this charge is recorded on someone's record, as this is treated as a DUI by the insurance company. In addition, it counts as a prior, so if someone is charged with drunk driving again within 10 years, he or she can face stiffer penalties.

Someone who faces a drunk driving charge may choose to ask if he or she can plea down to a wet reckless charge, preferring its slightly reduced penalties. Consulting one's lawyer is generally a good idea when considering this, as these charges are not an option in all areas, or a lawyer may have additional insight and advice specific to the defendant's case. Of course, one could always avoid the decision of whether or not to make a plea bargain by not driving drunk.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By lovealot — On May 12, 2011

@Clairdelune - In California and probably in many oher states, wet reckless driving and dry reckless driving are both misdemeanors and are offered as plea bargains for DUIs. A dry reckless charge is offered if the driver's blood alcohol is under or right around the legal limit of .08. Wet reckless driving is considered dangerous driving when the driver's alcohol content is above legal limits. Penalties for dry reckless pleas are the least serious of the three charges.

By Clairdelune — On May 11, 2011

I'm a little confused about the difference between the wet reckless misdemeanor and the dry reckless charge. Can anyone help with clarification of this point?

By nextcorrea — On May 10, 2011

@redhill - I agree that the court system can seem kind of sneaky sometimes but I think the wet reckless charge make sense. DUI laws are necessarily complicated because there are lots of different possible offenses and penalties. It sounds like the wet reckless charge gives defendants more choices while still protecting the interests of the public. The best I can say is that I'm glad I don't have one!

By live2shop — On May 10, 2011

@redhill - From reading the above article, I agree that the wet reckless charge was probably instituted to relieve the over crowded court system of endless cases. DUI charges always end in a jail sentence. Our jails are crowded with very serious offenders. By giving the offender the option of pleading guilty in a wet reckless charge, there are fewer court cases. The DUI charge is dropped, but there are still penalties given to the offender, which hopefully will be a deterrent to poor driving behavior in the future.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.