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What is a Wet Reckless Driving Charge in Illinois?

Updated on March 15, 2023 → Under

Have you been arrested for drunk driving charges in Illinois? This is a devastating experience for anyone, especially for a first-time offender with no aggravating circumstances. A DUI with no aggravating circumstances is a Class A misdemeanor which carries the following potential penalties:

  • A maximum jail sentence of one year,
  • A maximum fine of $2,500,
  • Driver's license suspension, and
  • Alcohol education program. 

Further, it's essential to note that a DUI conviction is a problem because a second or subsequent DUI conviction means severe penalties the second or third time around even though it's for the same crime. Plus, there are indemnity consequences specific to driving under the influence charges. For example, a DUI conviction can a person's professional license or it can cause a denial of security clearance. Also, a drunk driving conviction may cause travel restrictions outside the country and problems securing specific jobs, such as commercial driving jobs or other jobs that require a clean driving record.

Thus, a first DUI offense has severe consequences, and that's reason to be worried after a DUI charge in Illinois. 

But it's possible, in some situations, for an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney to secure a plea bargain where you plead guilty or no contest to a wet reckless charge. While a wet reckless conviction is a Class A misdemeanor, it doesn't carry all the same criminal penalties and collateral consequences. Further, unlike original driving under the influence charges, you can get your conviction expunged or sealed later. 

At Dohman Law Group, our DUI criminal defense attorneys strive to provide you with a comprehensive defense strategy after a DUI allegation. Sometimes, the best legal option is plea bargains involving a wet reckless charge. However, sometimes, it's best to fight the DUI charges. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our Chicago law office today at 847-616-9993.

What is a Wet Reckless Charge in Chicago?

In Chicago, a wet reckless charge refers to the criminal charge of reckless driving where a person drives a motor vehicle with wanton disregard for the safety of others or property. A wet reckless charge is a lesser offense than a drunk driving charge. 

A show of willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The potential consequences of a wet reckless driving conviction depend on whether an innocent person suffered a bodily injury during the commission of the offense. The criminal court will determine if:

What is a Wet Reckless Driving Charge in Illinois?
  • A person sustained bodily harm,
  • Who was the injured party, and
  • The severity of their physical injuries

When Do I Qualify For a Wet Reckless Plea Bargain in a Chicago DUI Case?

When you're arrested for a DUI in Illinois, you may be eligible for a wet reckless plea deal if:

However, it's imperative to note that it's up to the prosecutor to offer such a deal. But you should always make sure that if a deal is offered it's the best option based on your DUI charge situation. An experienced lawyer can help you determine if a plea deal is the best option based on the facts of your DUI case. Contact the amazing group of attorneys at Dohman Law Group today at 847-616-9993 for a free case review.

What is the Criminal Penalty for Reckless Driving in Illinois?

In Illinois, a wet reckless driving charge is a Class A misdemeanor offense, which is punishable by up to one year of jail time and a maximum fine of $2,500. Because reckless driving is a criminal offense, the traffic offender might be placed under arrest rather than being given a citation, at the police officer’s discretion. 

If the reckless driving traffic offense causes physical injury, disfigurement, or permanent disability to another person, you may be charged with aggravated reckless driving. Aggravated reckless driving is a Class 4 felony offense, which is punishable by 1-3 years in jail and a maximum fine of $25,000. 

If a negligent driver causes severe bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to a school crossing guard while the guard is performing their official duties or a minor child under the age of 16 years, the negligent driver could be charged with aggravated reckless driving--a Class 3 felony criminal offense, which is punishable by 2-5 years in jail and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Also, a reckless driving offense carries serious license-related consequences. A traffic offender convicted of a reckless driving violation two or more times within a 12-month period may lose their driving privileges. 

Is a Wet Reckless Charge a Better Option for Anyone Facing a DUI?

Both a wet reckless charge and a driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol charge are Class A misdemeanors. However, pleading guilty to a wet reckless charge carries lesser consequences than an average DUI charge. For example, Illinois law requires any person convicted of DUI to lose their driver’s license for at least one year.

A wet reckless conviction doesn't have such a requirement unless you’ve been convicted of the same charge twice in a 12-month period. This is the reason many people choose to plead guilty to a wet reckless charge rather than fighting an impaired driving charge in criminal court.

Another difference between a wet reckless driving charge and DUI criminal charges is the harsh penalty associated with re-offending. If you're convicted of drunk driving, you may be subject to court supervision. This means that if you violate your sentence, you may be re-sentenced and face a harsher sentence. If you can avoid having your driver's license revoked and you commit the same offense again, your license will be revoked. In fact, if you're in this situation, you don't have to re-offend. You can simply be accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol for the second time.

Wet reckless charge

However, in Illinois, the court can't take your driving privileges from you if you violate your wet reckless sentence. The court can only sentence you to one year in county jail. However, the only time the court can take your driver's license because of violating your wet reckless sentence is if you don't pay all court costs and fines associated with your wet reckless charge. The Illinois secretary of state can refuse to renew your driver's license if you haven't paid the court fees and court costs.

One of the most important reasons to choose a wet reckless plea over a DUI charge is your criminal record. A wet reckless offense doesn’t carry as much of a negative impact as a DUI conviction. With a DUI charge or DUI conviction, you’re more likely to lose your job or have a few job prospects. A wet reckless conviction doesn’t carry the same type of harsh consequences as a DUI criminal offense.

Does a Wet Reckless Conviction Affect Insurance?

Although a wet reckless conviction has less of an impact on your life than a driving under the influence charge, it does still mean you’re likely to face an auto insurance rate increase. You’ll need to inform your insurance company of the conviction when you need to complete an SR-22 insurance form, or they will find out when they check your driving record. You’ll face three years of increased insurance policy rates.

Beating the administrative suspension and the DUI charge are the only chances of avoiding an insurance rate hike. Our amazing lawyers can help you with both the prosecution and the DMV, increasing the chances that your auto insurance rates remain the same. If you’re in the Cook County, DuPage County, Kendall County, Kane County, and anywhere in Illinois, call our reckless driving lawyer at 847-616-9993 to schedule your free consultation.

If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, you need to hire an experienced DUI criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court. Dohman Law Group, we’ve handled hundreds of reckless driving cases throughout the Chicago area, including Cook County, Kane County, Kendall County, Will County, DuPage County, and Lake County. We know every DUI case is unique and needs personalized attention. Our driver defense team will offer the high-quality legal representation you need to get your traffic charges reduced or even dismissed. To schedule a free initial consultation, call the law office in Chicago today at 847-616-9993 or chat with us online to learn how we can help.

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