Sometimes the defendant in a DUI / DWI case has the option of accepting a plea bargain. While sometimes it’s in the driver’s best interests to take the case to trial, in other instances he or she may want to consider pleading guilty to a reduced charge. A lawyer experienced in defending drunk driving cases can determine whether a plea agreement is the best possible outcome in a DUI case.
One possible plea agreement in a drunk driving case is to plead guilty to reckless driving unrelated to alcohol, also known as dry-reckless. There are many benefits to pleading guilty to this reduced charge, and, if it is offered, little question about whether it should be accepted.
A plea bargain is supposed to be just what the name implies – a bargain for both sides. The prosecutor saves the time and trouble of taking the case to trial. The defendant receives some consideration for admitting guilt early – usually a reduced charge or diminished consequences.
The dry-reckless charge is the best of both worlds. Unlike a DUI or wet-reckless charge, dry reckless generally carries only probation and a much smaller fine than in a drunk driving case. There is no mandatory license suspension and no requirement to file a formal proof of insurance or SR-22 if the driver is successful at a DMV hearing. However, the court may require the driver to attend alcohol education classes, depending on the circumstances of the case.
A dry-reckless plea also differs from a DUI or wet-reckless charge in that it does not count as a prior conviction if the driver is again arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving within 10 years of the previous arrest.
Dry-reckless plea bargains are most often offered when the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) hovers just around the legal limit of 0.08 percent. As with wet-reckless and DUI / DWI convictions, dry-reckless is a misdemeanor, however, it carries far fewer penalties than more serious drunk driving charges.
Deciding whether to accept a plea of dry-reckless, or any other reduced charge, is a serious decision. A qualified DUI / DWI criminal defense attorney can help negotiate the best possible plea agreement, and determine whether it’s in the best interests of the driver.