DUI vs. Wet Reckless in Tennessee

Whiskey and car keys - wet reckless vs DUI

A first DUI offense is a serious matter in Tennessee. A conviction can result in costly fines, a lengthy drivers’ license suspension, and even time spent behind bars.

Fortunately, it’s possible for a person who’s facing a DUI to “plea bargain” for a reduced charge—with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. When a DUI is reduced to a reckless driving charge through a plea deal, it is commonly known as a “wet reckless.”

A wet reckless means reckless driving involving alcohol. If a defendant is a first-time offender, had a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at or below .08 percent, and/or has no criminal record, such mitigating factors may increase the chances of obtaining a wet reckless plea agreement.

The following are the benefits of a wet reckless charge compared to a DUI in Tennessee:

  • Reduced jail sentence – A wet reckless conviction is punishable by a maximum six-month jail sentence. By contrast, a first DUI conviction carries a jail sentence of up to 11 months.
  • Lower fines – A wet reckless conviction can result in fines of up to $580, while a first DUI conviction can lead to fines of up to $1,500.
  • No driver’s license suspension – A first DUI conviction is punishable by a maximum one-year driver’s license┬ásuspension. While a wet reckless conviction doesn’t directly result in driver’s license suspension, it does add six demerit points to a defendant’s driving record. Accumulating 12 points or more in a year is enough to suspend driving privileges for up to 12 months.

Remember, a wet reckless conviction will count as a prior DUI. This means, for example, if you end up getting charged with a second DUI, you will be sentenced as a repeat offender.

If you have been charged with a first-time DUI in Sevierville, contact Andrew Farmer Law today at (865) 205-2637 and request a free consultation.