Understanding DUI/OWI Plea Arrangements in Indiana

Criminal Defense
Understanding DUI/OWI Plea Arrangements in Indiana

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DUI/OWI Plea Arrangements in Indiana

In specific situations, a motorist who is charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) may plead down to a reckless driving charge. This is known as a “wet reckless” and carries less severe penalties than an OWI/DUI conviction would. There are, however, limitations to wet reckless pleas. The following will discuss OWI plea arrangements and wet reckless pleas in Indiana and how a Fort Wayne DUI attorney can help.

Wet Reckless Pleas in Indiana

To avoid the cost of prosecution and in cases where some of the evidence may not rise to the standard of scientific rigor, prosecutors will often offer defendants a plea agreement. The defendants agree to plead guilty to reckless driving and avoid the most serious penalties related to OWI. 

However, the penalties for a wet reckless are not necessarily good either. Reckless driving is considered a class-2 misdemeanor. Penalties include:

  • 180 days in jail
  • $1,000 in fines plus court costs and other fees
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Mandatory alcohol and substance abuse treatment
  • Other penalties

Should I Take the Plea? Advantages of a Wet Reckless

Plea agreements are tricky because you are pleading guilty to a crime. However, there are some situations in which pleading guilty to reckless driving is preferable to taking your case before a jury. These include:

  • A subsequent DUI conviction will only count as your first DUI, not your second
  • It is rare that those who take wet reckless pleas are required to install interlock ignition devices on their vehicle
  • Auto insurance rates will spike after a reckless driving charge, but not as much as a DUI charge

Restrictions on Wet Reckless Pleas

Wet reckless pleas are a one-time “get out of jail free card” that you use to avoid an OWI on your record and license. Not all those who are charged with OWI can be offered such a plea. For example, if this is your second OWI charge and you have already pleaded one down to a wet reckless, you will not get another chance. If there were any injuries or deaths involved in your accident, you will not be able to plead down to a wet reckless. Lastly, if you caused any property damage, you will not be able to plead down either.

Should I Take a Wet Reckless Plea or Fight the Charges?

Each case is different. Our attorney at The Bellinger Law Office helps Fort Wayne, IN, residents deal with OWI/DUI charges. In some cases, it may be better to fight the charges. In other cases, accepting the plea will be the best possible resolution. Call us today to learn more about OWI charges and how a skilled criminal defense attorney can help.

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