Yes, it’s possible that a DUI defendant may be able to make a plea bargain for either a wet reckless or some lesser offense. Most typically, it occurs in Pennsylvania when a driver charged with a DUI has a BAC of less than .08% and pleas down to reckless driving.
A wet reckless plea typically carries fewer obligations, punishments, and costs than a traditional DUI.
Keep in mind, however, that because of public pressure, most prosecutors are hesitant to plea bargain down a DUI charge. As noted above, in Pennsylvania, such pleas are typically made for first-offense impaired driving offenses where the driver’s BAC is borderline (slightly above or below the .08% requirement), and where there was no property damage or personal injury resulting from the incident.
(Read about reckless driving and the consequences of a conviction.)
The advantages of a wet reckless plea are that the fines are lower and there is usually no jail time. The driver’s DUI record is kept clean. However, if the driver later is arrested for a DUI, the wet reckless will be treated like a prior- DUI conviction. In other words, the newer arrest will handled as if it were a second DUI offense (with the accompanying penalties).
Some Pennsylvania drivers are surprised to learn that insurance rates often jump higher for drivers convicted of a wet reckless than a DUI (although both are labeled as "high risk drivers”). That’s because the statistical data used by insurance companies shows that reckless drivers get in more accidents than those convicted of DUI.
Although it’s possible for a driver to handle a plea bargain, it is strongly recommended that the driver seek an attorney’s assistance when attempting to plead down a DUI to a wet reckless or other lesser charge.