When you are charged with a first offense of driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia, you are facing a possible misdemeanor conviction that could carry sentence of jail time, fines, court costs, and loss of your privilege to drive. In addition, a DUI conviction would leave you with a permanent criminal record. However, you may be able to avoid some of the harsh consequences of a first DUI by entering into a "wet reckless" plea.
What Is Wet Reckless in Virginia?
Wet reckless is a term that refers to a reckless driving charge where alcohol is involved. There is no statutory offense in Virginia called “wet reckless.” However, under Virginia Code § 46.2-392, if a judge believes the reckless driving is alcohol-related, a person who is convicted of reckless driving may be required to enter and successfully complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP). Here are some important things you need to know about a wet reckless plea:
- There are no laws that require the government to offer you a wet reckless. It is solely within the discretion of the prosecutor handling the case. That means there are no guarantees that someone can get a wet reckless, regardless of how good their driving record is, how nice they were to the officer, or anything else.
- Not all jurisdictions will permit a wet reckless plea. In fact, many jurisdictions have moved away from this practice.
- A wet reckless outcome is usually reserved for first time offenders who were close to the blood alcohol content (BAC) legal limit. In Virginia, a BAC of .08 or greater creates a permissive inference that the accused was intoxicated at the time of operating the vehicle. If someone is at or below a .08, there is a greater likelihood that a wet reckless plea could be offered by the prosecution.
- You may be required to enter into and successfully complete VASAP. Whether VASAP will be required will depend on the deal struck between you and the prosecution.
- You will face similar penalties for wet reckless as for DUI. These can include a possible jail sentence, fines, and a suspended driver’s license for up to six months.
A wet reckless conviction has less of a stigma than a DUI conviction. It also means that enhancements that would otherwise apply if convicted of a DUI, would not apply if only convicted of a wet reckless.
Were you charged with DUI in Fairfax or the surrounding areas? We’re here to help you build a strong defense and consider all of your options. To learn more about our extensive experience and how we can help, start an online chat to schedule your free initial consultation.