What is the Difference Between “Wet Reckless” and DUI Charges in Illinois?
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in all 50 states. However, the penalties of a drunk driving conviction vary from state to state. In Illinois, the consequences for driving under the influence (DUI) depend on several factors, including whether the person has previously been charged with drunk driving and whether certain aggravating factors were present. In some DUI cases, the defendant may be able to plead guilty to a lesser offense nicknamed “wet reckless” to reduce the penalties he or she faces. If you or a loved one have been charged with DUI in Illinois, it is important to carefully consider your options before making a decision about a plea deal.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Illinois
If a driver is arrested for driving under the influence and refuses to take a breath test or fails a breath test in Illinois, he or she is subject to an immediate driver’s license suspension. This suspension makes it illegal for the person to drive any vehicle. If the person is convicted of DUI and no aggravating circumstances are present, his or her driving privileges are revoked for one year. A first-time DUI is punishable by fines up to $2,500, and up to one year in jail, however, many first-time offenders can secure court supervision in lieu of jail time. If the driver had a blood alcohol content of 0.16 or more, was transporting a child under 16, or caused a crash resulting in serious injury or death, the penalties are much harsher. Some DUIs are classified as felonies.
Reckless Driving Penalties Compared to DUI Penalties
The term “wet reckless” is often used to describe charges for reckless driving involving alcohol. First-time DUI and reckless driving are Class A misdemeanor offenses in Illinois. However, the penalties associated with these offenses differ. Unlike DUI, a conviction for reckless driving does not result in a one-year driver’s license revocation. Furthermore, a person who has been convicted of DUI and is under court supervision may face significant penalties if he or she is arrested for a subsequent DUI during the probation period. This is not true of reckless driving.
Another reason that many people charged with DUI seek to have their charges reduced to reckless driving charges is that a DUI conviction cannot be expunged from the driver’s criminal record. On the other hand, a person convicted of reckless driving may eventually be able to get that conviction erased from his or her record.
Contact a Cook County DUI Defense Lawyer
If you want to learn more about your legal options after a DUI arrest, contact Chicago defense lawyer Emilio Moretti. Call 312-861-1084 for a confidential consultation today.