A Minneapolis DWI lawyer discusses pleading to a careless or reckless driving charge if arrested for a DWI

Under Minnesota law, if you have been arrested for a DWI, it is possible to plead guilty to Careless or Reckless Driving with alcohol involved. The Careless or Reckless Driving charge generally has a lesser punishment than a DWI. A plea like this is sometimes referred to as “wet reckless” as it acknowledges that alcohol—the “wet”—was involved. Below are facts a Minneapolis DWI lawyer wants you to know about this plea.

First, these pleas are usually only possible for first time offenders where the blood alcohol content (BAC) hovers around 0.8%, the state limit at which a driver is legally intoxicated—either a bit below 0.8% or a bit above—and if no personal injury or property damage occurred.

Second, although the fines and any jail time for a wet reckless are lower than for a DWI in Minneapolis, should you be arrested later for a DWI, the wet reckless is counted as a prior DWI. (For a first-time DWI conviction, the fine can be as high as $1,000 and the jail sentence up to 90 days. A license could be suspended for up to 90 days. For a second conviction, however, the penalties spike upward. The fine for a second offense can range up to $3,000 and any jail sentence be as long as one year. A license could be suspended for up to 180 days.)

Third, although the wet reckless carries lower penalties, your insurance rates may rise higher in the wake of one than it would had you been convicted for a DWI. Why? Insurance companies employ data that indicate that reckless drivers are in more accidents than drivers with a DWI conviction. The rates of the former increase accordingly.

Need to talk to an experienced DWI lawyer about your charge? Please contact us.