Palm Beach Gardens, FL – If you were arrested or charged with DUI, you should never treat it lightly, even if it’s your first offense. Many Florida drivers mistakenly believe the consequences of a first DUI offense are not all that serious. What’s the worst that can happen to me? Indeed, if it’s the first time you are facing DUI charges, the judge may go easy on you. You may get away with a $500 fine and little to no community service. What you should worry about is that a DUI charge will stay on your record permanently. This may lead to a significant increase in your insurance premium and you may not be able to apply for certain jobs where criminal records matter.
To avoid such unpleasant situations, you should reach out to knowledgeable Palm Beach Gardens DUI lawyers right away. They will explain the merits of the most commonly used DUI defense strategies. For a first-time offender, having the charge lowered to wet reckless may be your best bet.
How is wet reckless defined in Florida?
Under Florida statutes, you may be charged with reckless driving if the police officer determines your conduct indicated “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”. Speeding, for instance, is a form of reckless driving. If a driver is intoxicated, he or she may be charged with wet reckless if their ability to drive was not so impaired as to warrant a DUI charge.
When can a DUI charge be reduced to wet reckless?
Your DUI defense lawyers will examine the evidence in your file to determine whether they could convince the prosecution to lower the charge to wet reckless. This involves reaching a plea deal, under which the DA drops the DUI charge if you agree to plead guilty to the lesser wet reckless offense.
This sort of plea deal may not be possible in every DUI case. Generally speaking, you stand a good chance of convincing the prosecution to drop the DUI charge if it’s your first offense and your blood alcohol content (BAC) was not very high.
If you were caught driving with a BAC that’s around the 0.08 limit, you may qualify for a wet reckless plea deal. However, if your BAC was 0.15 or higher, no prosecutor will agree to be lenient.
The same applies if you were involved in an accident resulting in property damage, injury or death.
Seasoned lawyers may be able to sway the prosecutor if they challenge the validity of the evidence against you. They may argue that the breath or chemical test was improperly administered or that the police officer lacked the training necessary to administer a field sobriety test.
How is wet reckless better than DUI?
A wet reckless offense is considered a second-degree misdemeanor, and the penalties are less severe. This type of offense does not go on your criminal record. If a potential employer wants to run a background check on you, the offense won’t show.
On the other hand, you must understand that, even if it doesn’t show on your record, the police keep track of wet reckless convictions. Next time you’re charged with drunk driving, you may not be able to fight a DUI charge.