Wet Reckless vs DUI: An Option in Georgia?

Navigating the complexities of DUI laws can be challenging, particularly when considering the distinctions between charges like “wet reckless” and DUI. Both terms refer to alcohol-related driving offenses, but they carry different legal implications, penalties, and long-term consequences. Understanding these differences is crucial for anyone facing such charges or seeking to understand their legal options — especially in Georgia, whose recognition of a lesser driving plea is different from the wet reckless of other states.

At Willis Law Firm, we provide clear and comprehensive legal guidance on DUI and related charges. Whether you’re facing charges or simply seeking to educate yourself about these legal terms, our goal is to offer valuable insights to help you navigate the legal landscape effectively.


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Understanding Wet Reckless in Georgia

“Wet reckless” is a term used to describe a plea bargain in which a defendant charged with driving under the influence (DUI) pleads guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving involving alcohol. This plea can offer several advantages over a DUI conviction, such as reduced penalties and less severe long-term consequences. Typically, wet reckless charges come with lower fines, shorter jail time, reduced license suspension, and a less severe impact on a criminal record. The fines for a wet reckless conviction are generally less than those for a DUI. Additionally, the potential jail time is often reduced, and the period of license suspension may be shorter compared to a DUI. Moreover, a reckless driving charge may carry less stigma than a DUI on a criminal record.

Do We Have Wet Reckless in Georgia?

Unlike some states, Georgia does not have a specific statute that recognizes a “wet reckless” plea. This means that, under Georgia law, there is no distinct legal category for a wet reckless charge. However, defendants can still negotiate plea deals in DUI cases that might result in a lesser charge of reckless driving, albeit without the explicit “wet reckless” label.

In Georgia, reckless driving is defined under O.C.G.A. §40-6-390 as operating a vehicle with “reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.” While this charge does not specifically mention alcohol, it can be used in plea deals to mitigate the consequences of a DUI charge.

Negotiating a Plea Deal

Negotiating a plea deal can be a strategic move for defendants facing DUI charges in Georgia, especially when aiming to reduce the charge to reckless driving. This process typically involves several key steps.

First and foremost, securing legal representation is crucial. An experienced DUI attorney will negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf, striving to have the DUI charge reduced to reckless driving. The outcome of these negotiations heavily depends on a thorough case evaluation. The strength of the evidence against you, your prior criminal record, and the specifics of your case all play significant roles in determining whether a plea deal is feasible.

Opting for a plea deal to reckless driving, even though it is not labeled as “wet reckless,” can offer substantial benefits. Pleading guilty to reckless driving instead of DUI can lead to lesser penalties, reduced fines, shorter jail time, and a shorter license suspension. This alternative can significantly mitigate the consequences of a DUI charge, making it a beneficial option for many defendants.

The Importance of Legal Counsel

Understanding the nuances of DUI law in Georgia and the potential for plea deals requires legal knowledge, making the presence of an experienced DUI attorney crucial. Navigating complex legal terrain, such as the intricacies of DUI laws and plea bargaining options, can be overwhelming. An attorney will guide you through this process, ensuring you understand your options.

Moreover, an attorney can negotiate the best possible outcome, potentially reducing the charges and associated penalties. Protecting your legal rights throughout the legal process is paramount, and an experienced attorney will advocate on your behalf to ensure these rights are upheld.

While Georgia does not have a specific statute for “wet reckless” pleas, it is still possible to negotiate DUI charges down to reckless driving. This can offer significant benefits, including reduced penalties and less severe long-term consequences. Therefore, having a knowledgeable DUI attorney by your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.


Greg has truly mastered his craft. His preparation is second to none and his confidence helps reduce the nervousness and anxiety his clients face. He is a real life version of Harvey Specter and I highly recommend him.”

- Travis


Greg and his team are absolutely incredible. Greg explained everything to me in detail, as this is the first ever time I have been arrested. Regular updates throughout the process which allowed me to get on with everyday life. 200% I would recommend Greg and his team to anyone with a DUI case."

- James Hellens


Mr Willis is the best in the business. He knows the law inside and out. I was in a serious jam and Greg got my dui reduced to a reckless driving. This man will fight for you every step of the way."

- Anonymous

DUI in Georgia

Under Georgia law, driving under the influence (DUI) is defined as operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, or while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances that impair your ability to drive safely. For commercial drivers, the BAC limit is 0.04%, and for drivers under the age of 21, the limit is 0.02% .

Key Georgia DUI Statutes

O.C.G.A. §40-6-391 

This statute outlines the primary offenses related to DUI in Georgia. It prohibits operating a vehicle:

– With a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

– While under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination thereof to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive.

– With any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance in the blood or urine, subject to specific exceptions for legally prescribed medications.

Implied Consent Law (O.C.G.A. §40-5-55)

Georgia’s implied consent law states that by driving on Georgia roads, you automatically consent to chemical tests (breath, blood, urine) to determine BAC or drug presence. Refusal to submit to testing can result in immediate license suspension and other penalties.

Zero Tolerance for Underage Drivers

Drivers under 21 with a BAC of 0.02% or higher can be charged with DUI. This lower threshold reflects the strict stance Georgia takes on underage drinking and driving.

Penalties for DUI in Georgia

The penalties for DUI in Georgia vary depending on the number of prior offenses and the specifics of the case. Here are the general consequences:

First DUI Offense:

Jail time: 10 days to 12 months (with 24 hours mandatory).

Fines: $300 to $1,000.

Community service: Minimum of 20 hours (40 hours if BAC was 0.08% or higher).

License suspension: Up to one year.

DUI school and substance abuse evaluation.

Second DUI Offense (within ten years):

Jail time: 90 days to 12 months (with 72 hours mandatory).

Fines: $600 to $1,000.

Community service: Minimum of 30 days.

License suspension: Three years.

DUI school, substance abuse evaluation, and possible installation of an ignition interlock device.

Third DUI Offense (within ten years):

Jail time: 120 days to 12 months (with 15 days mandatory).

Fines: $1,000 to $5,000.

Community service: Minimum of 30 days.

License suspension: Five years.

DUI school, substance abuse evaluation, and mandatory ignition interlock device upon reinstatement of driving privileges.

Fourth and Subsequent Offenses

Classified as a felony.

Jail time: One to five years.

Fines: $1,000 to $5,000.

Community service: Minimum of 60 days.

Long-term license revocation and mandatory ignition interlock device.

Featured Case Results

Protecting a Professional License After a DUI and Refusal of a Blood Test

Result: DUI Dismissed with No Jail Time and No Loss of License

Challenging Admissibility of a .19 BAC Blood Test and Field Sobriety Evaluation

Result: No Jail Time, No DUI on Record, No License Suspension

Potential Defenses for DUI

  • Challenging the legality of the traffic stop.
  • Contesting the accuracy of the chemical tests.
  • Arguing that the defendant was not impaired or the impairment did not affect driving safety.

DUI vs Reckless Driving in Georgia

Reckless driving is also a serious offense but carries less severe penalties compared to a DUI:

Jail time: Up to 12 months.

Fines: Up to $1,000.

Potential license suspension.

Points added to driving record, affecting insurance rates and driving privileges.

Differences in Legal and Long-term Consequences

Impact on Criminal Record

DUI: A DUI conviction remains on your criminal record permanently and can have lasting impacts on employment, insurance rates, and personal reputation.

Reckless Driving: While still a criminal offense, reckless driving is generally viewed less severely than a DUI. It may have a less significant impact on your criminal record and future opportunities.

Driver’s License Suspension

DUI: Convictions result in mandatory license suspension periods, which increase with subsequent offenses.

Reckless Driving: License suspension is possible but not mandatory and often shorter than for a DUI.

Insurance Rates

DUI: Insurance premiums often skyrocket following a DUI conviction due to the high-risk designation.

Reckless Driving: Insurance rates will likely increase, but not as dramatically as with a DUI.

Employment Opportunities:

A DUI can affect job prospects, particularly in fields requiring driving or where background checks are common. Although still a concern, reckless driving convictions generally have a less detrimental impact on employment opportunities compared to DUIs.

Related Videos

Choosing a Georgia DUI Attorney

Defenses and Strategies to Defend a DUI Charge

Understanding the differences between a wet reckless vs DUI charge in Georgia is essential for anyone facing alcohol-related driving offenses. While Georgia does not have a specific wet reckless statute, negotiating a plea to reckless driving can still provide significant benefits, including reduced penalties and less severe long-term consequences. Each case is unique, and navigating the complexities of DUI charges requires legal guidance.

If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges, it is crucial to seek experienced legal representation to explore your options and ensure the best possible outcome. Contact Willis Law Firm today for a comprehensive consultation. Our dedicated team is here to provide the advocacy and support you need to face this challenging situation.

Greg Willis has been successful at defending DUI cases (over 93% without a conviction)

He's the only lawyer in the State of Georgia to ever be recognized for all three of these accomplishments.

Received the Samurai Lawyer Award for having gone to jail for a total of 4 days in order to save his own client

Received the BadAss Lawyer Award for the biggest impact of all DUI lawyers in DUI defense in the country

Received the vote of Georgia Lawyers as a Superlawyer in DUI Law for 10 straight consecutive years

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