wet reckless

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Wet reckless is an informal term for a plea bargain reached where someone charged with a DUI receives a lesser charge usually for reckless driving. The charge is called “wet” because reckless charges do not include driving under the influence (DUI). The details vary greatly by state for wet reckless charges, with some states like New York specifically forbidding the practice while others allow it through statute like California. Individuals seek wet reckless charges because they have shorter sentences, lower fines, and may not lose their licenses in contrast to DUI charges. However, prosecutors generally only offer wet reckless plea bargains in cases involving little evidence or low alcohol content; this leads to criticism that wet reckless charges encourage innocent people to accept the charge in order to avoid the possibility of a DUI charge. 

[Last updated in October of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]