Reckless Driving as a Plea Bargain Option for DWI or DWAI

New York has two types of offenses relating to operation of a vehicle while drunk or drugged: DWI (driving while intoxicated) and DWAI (driving while ability impaired). Both can have serious consequences, including jail, fines and loss of driving privileges.

If you are charged with a DWI , you generally cannot plea bargain to anything other than a charge listed within the same section of the vehicle and traffic code. However, in limited circumstances, you can plead to reckless driving — a traffic offense that does not have an alcohol component. This is commonly known as a “wet reckless” and can help you avoid certain penalties that come with a DWI conviction. Notably, reckless driving does not require license suspension, which may be imposed for DWI.

However, getting a district attorney to agree to a wet reckless in a DWI case is not to be taken for granted. The district attorney must determine that a DWI charge is not warranted, which in turn requires that a specific basis put on the record. You will have to show specifically the weaknesses in the state’s case. Was there a bad stop? Were field sobriety tests administered properly? Was the breath test machine properly calibrated? Sometimes motions need to be filed to challenge the validity of evidence. If a judge declares a certain part of the evidence inadmissible, your chances at a better deal or a dismissal altogether increase greatly.

If you are charged with a DWAI in New York, the possibility of pleading to a wet reckless is much greater. The New York vehicle and traffic code does not limit a district attorney’s ability to reduce a DWAI to an entirely different offense. However, DWAI is not as common a charge in New York as DWI.

Whether you are charged with a DWI or a DWAI, it is important to have your case examined by an experienced attorney who can serve as your counsel in seeking a favorable disposition.

At the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C., we have over 30 years of experience in successfully helping people with legal issues. We are a family-focused, Christian law firm committed to advancing our clients’ best interests. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 585-563-1134 or contact us online.


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