Can I Plead to "Wet Reckless" in Colorado?

Plea bargaining a reduced charge in Colorado drunk driving cases.

In some states, it’s possible for a motorist who’s accused of driving under the influence (DUI) to “plea bargain” for a lesser charge. When such a plea bargain is for a reckless driving charge, it’s sometimes called a “wet reckless.”

Plea bargaining for a wet reckless is a possibility in Colorado. However, there are limitations: plea bargaining is permitted in DUI cases only “upon a good faith representation by the prosecuting attorney that the attorney could not establish a prima facie case if the defendant were brought to trial on the original alcohol-related or drug-related offense.” In other words, the prosecutor must tell the judge that the evidence against the defendant is weak before a plea bargain for reckless driving will be allowed. (Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42-4-1301 (2017).)

The benefit of pleading to a wet reckless is simple: The penalties for a reckless driving conviction are less severe than those for driving under the influence. For instance, a DUI usually comes with mandatory jail time whereas jail is only a possibility for a reckless driving conviction.

If you’ve been arrest for driving under the influence, talk to an experienced local DUI attorney. The facts of every case are different. A qualified DUI lawyer can talk to you about what the possibilities are for your case. 


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