What Is a “Wet Reckless” in Florida?

What is a Wet Reckless in Florida

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense that can come with serious penalties, including loss of license, steep fines, and even jail time. It can have a major effect on your life and livelihood, leading to loss of job and employment opportunities, increased insurance rates, and negative credit effects.

While the penalties are severe for a reason, the evidence requirements for a DUI conviction are also quite steep. Because it can often be difficult for prosecutors to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that a DUI occurred, they will sometimes seek a lesser charge that is easier to prove.

What is a “Wet Reckless” in Florida?

In Florida, a “wet reckless” charge is a term for reckless driving that involves alcohol consumption. While this charge is still a criminal offense, the penalties can be less severe. Many people facing a DUI conviction in Florida will find wet reckless driving an acceptable alternative, with reduced fines as well as the possibility of avoiding jail time and license suspension.

The following guide can help you understand these charges and how an experienced attorney can help protect your full legal rights.

Reckless Driving and DUI Explained Under Florida Law

Under Florida Statutes, chapter 316.192, reckless driving is when a motorist operates any vehicle with willful and/or careless disregard for the safety of people or property. This general definition can include a wide range of driving behaviors and specific offenses. Examples of what is considered to be reckless driving by Florida law enforcement include:

  • Driving at a significantly higher speed than the posted limit
  • Driving in an aggressive or threatening manner to one or more motorists
  • Driving at excessive speed while being too close to the vehicle in front of you
  • Fleeing from a law enforcement officer
  • Driving recklessly while drug or alcohol consumption is involved, also called wet reckless driving

The next statute, 316.193 explains DUI law. Anyone operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or chemical substances, including illegal drugs and prescription medications, causing impairment of the driver’s faculties is committing a DUI. A person is considered to be impaired if his or her blood alcohol level is 0.08 or above.

Penalties for reckless driving can include a fine of up to $500, as well as the possibility of imprisonment for up to 90 days. With a second or subsequent offense, the possible fine increases up to $1,000, and jail time increases to up to six months.

Penalties for a DUI include a fine of no less than $500, but not to exceed $1,000 or no less than $1,000, but not to exceed $2,000, if BAC was above .15. Imprisonment is not to exceed six months, or nine months if there was a minor in the vehicle or blood alcohol was above .15, as well as a minimum license revocation of 180 days.

For both a DUI or a wet reckless driving conviction, the fines, jail time, and other penalties increase, sometimes substantially, with subsequent offenses and/or if there was property damage, injury, or death to another person.

Penalties vary on a case-by-case basis depending on the judge, the circumstances of the case, and the evidence presented by the prosecutors and defense attorneys. In many cases, a reckless driving charge may be treated as a less severe misdemeanor compared to a DUI, particularly if there is no injury or property damage involved. A qualified attorney can defend against your charges and help ensure that you agree to and enter the plea that has the most benefit for your well-being.

How Experienced Attorneys Can Help With a Wet Reckless Plea

Having a qualified, experienced, and knowledgeable attorney on your side can have a significant impact on the outcome of your reckless driving or DUI case. The legal system is complex. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, having a police officer tell you you are guilty does not mean you have been convicted.

Reckless driving and DUI defense attorneys will have deep knowledge of your rights under the law and the restrictions and steps that law enforcement must follow. Examples that could cause prosecutors to accept a wet reckless plea include:

  • Illegal or questionable traffic stop
  • Borderline BAC level or questionable testing methods
  • Inaccurate field sobriety tests due to driver fatigue or poor instructions
  • First-time offenses

In any DUI or reckless driving defense case, your lawyer should be working hard to ensure your rights are fully protected so you can receive the best possible outcome.

At Clark Hartpence Law, attorney Jeremy Clark was a public defender in the Sixth Judicial Circuit and fully understands the laws surrounding DUI, reckless driving, and wet reckless charges. With his and our team’s comprehensive experience, we can respond effectively to the arguments the state of Florida typically uses in DUI cases and work for the best plea for your life, livelihood, and future.

Contact us today at (855) 680-4911 for your free consultation. A DUI or reckless driving arrest does not have to ruin your life. We’ll work hard to minimize the penalties of your Florida wet reckless, reckless driving, or DUI charge.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.