A DUI offense is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. A conviction for a first-time offense results in a maximum fine of $300 (not including court costs), drug and alcohol treatment, as well as a jail or probation term of up to six months. Additionally, having a DUI conviction on your criminal record could have severe implications for employment and other aspects of your life.
However, you may be able to plead your DUI to a “wet reckless” charge with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Wet reckless is an alcohol-related reckless driving offense, which carries less serious penalties compared to a DUI.
The prosecution will consider the following factors to determine whether to accept a plea to reduced DUI charges:
- It is your first DUI offense
- Your criminal history regarding traffic offenses
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) was at or close to .08 percent at the time of your arrest
- You weren’t involved in a car accident at the time of you arrest
- Other aggravating factors (e.g. open container, resisting arrest, fleeing the scene, etc.) aren’t apparent
- Proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is difficult for the prosecution
A wet reckless is punishable by a fine of up to $200, four points on your driving record, driver’s license suspension for up to six months, alcohol education and treatment, as well as a jail sentence of up to 90 days, although you are unlikely to serve any jail time for a reckless driving offense. Having a wet reckless on your criminal record will not result in detrimental consequences in comparison to a DUI charge.
Furthermore, you may also qualify for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, which is a pre-trial intervention program available to individuals accused of non-violent offenses who have no criminal history or a limited record. The probation period lasts up to 12 months and completion will result in getting your charges dismissed.