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Can I Get a Wet Reckless or PBJ on My DC DUI Charge?

by | Jul 15, 2014

As a Washington, DC DUI lawyer, I often get asked from clients if it is possible to get a wet reckless or PBJ.

In Virginia and other states, it appears common for first offense DUI defendants to get their charges reduced to what is known as a wet reckless.  A wet reckless plea allows the defendant to plead to reckless driving where alcohol was factor.  A wet reckless charge is not technically a DUI offense so mandatory minimums won’t normally apply.   You may also be able to keep your driver’s license.

A lot of my client’s from Maryland ask if they can get a PBJ on their DC DUI charge.  A PBJ (short for probation before judgment) is where the defendant pleads guilty to a DUI and instead of being sentenced, is placed on probation for a period of time.  Upon successful completion of the probationary period, the charges are dismissed and you avoid a conviction on your record.  This may also be expunged from your record. The statue also states that a PBJ is not considered a conviction for the purpose of second or subsequent (repeat) DUIs.

Unfortunately, in the District of Columbia there is absolutely no way that you will be offered a wet reckless or a PBJ on a DUI charge.  The Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia doesn’t believe these remedies are appropriate for DUI cases.  It doesn’t matter what the facts of your case may be, at this point in time they don’t exist.

While DC does technically have a probation before judgment option, it only applies to first offense possession of a controlled substance charges and is known as a 904.01(e) disposition.

The prosecutors in DC are not in the business of making fair deals for first time offenders who simply made a mistake.  They also have a hard time understanding that you can get a DUI by making a mistake and that does not automatically make you an alcoholic.
This is not to say there is no way to have a case dismissed by the government prior to trial for first time offenders.  There is a Deferred Sentencing Agreement (DSA) which is similar to a PBJ that is offered when the driver blew into a Breathalyzer and had a score that was just over the legal limit but not much above the limit.  The difference is that a DSA is treated as a prior offense if you get arrested again and will stay on your record for several years.  It also will result in a loss of driving privileges in the District of Columbia.
The government has decided to fight every case to the bitter end so you want to make sure your lawyer is willing to fight every case on your behalf.  The DC government is not in the habit of making meaningful plea offers regardless of what you may have been told.

Every situation is different so you should talk to a lawyer who regularly handles drunk driving cases in the District of Columbia about your specific situation.

If you have been charged with any of these Washington, DC drunk driving offenses or any other DC crime, contact Attorney Christopher J. Mutimer by calling 202-765-3175 or by filling out an online contact form. Credit Cards Accepted