Can a DWI charge in Texas be reduced to a wet reckless?
Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, I live in the State of Texas. I went drinking the other night and had a few beers and a shot of tequila. I must have been more intoxicated than I thought because I was stopped and arrested for a DUI. I am wondering if the State of Texas allows any drivers to plea bargain their DWI charges down to a wet reckless charge and avoid some of the most severe penalties for the DWI conviction?
What is a wet reckless charge?
The term wet reckless refers to a specific type of plea bargain which is allowed in some states after a DUI arrest. For example, a wet reckless plea bargain may be offered if there is an evidentiary issue and the state does not have strong case or if the drivers blood alcohol concentration was very near the illegal limit of 0.8%.
Wet reckless plea bargain agreements can be great for drivers in the states in which they are offered. Specifically, wet reckless charges may limit the drivers license suspension and allow for shorter jail time, probation, and fines.
Unfortunately, however, a wet reckless charge also have some negatives. Not only can you expect your insurance costs to increase, but if you are arrested for a second DUI after your wet reckless plea agreement you can be charged as a repeat DUI offender.
Can I plea bargain and get wet reckless instead of DWI charge in Texas?
Unfortunately, if you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated in Texas, state laws specifically prohibit the states prosecutor from offering you a non-DWI charge.
This does not mean, however, that there is no hope for your DWI case. In fact, you may have several options. First, you need to discuss your case with a DWI attorney who is familiar with the laws in Texas. They may be able to provide evidence that you were not intoxicated or provide evidence that the states case is weak.
Another option is to plead guilty but allow your DUI lawyer to make a plea deal with the prosecution to reduce the penalties for the DWI charges. For example, you may be able to have the fines reduced by performing additional community service hours. You also may be able to reduce the amount of time your license will be suspended by installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
Why is DWI charge a big deal?
Although a DWI arrest and conviction may have led to a slap on the wrist 20 or 30 years ago, over the last several decades lobbying groups such as MADD and others have diligently worked to get lawmakers to increase the severity of DWI penalties, even for first time offenders.
If you are convicted for DWI in Texas you can expect to pay thousands of dollars in fines, penalties, lawyers fees, administrative costs, and annual surcharges. You can also expect the cost of your insurance to increase and potentially lose your license.