Steve Wilkos asked the judge for some leniency in his first court appearance since he was charged with DUI.
Wilkos -- flanked by his wife, Rachelle -- showed up to court Monday in Darien, Conn. and his lawyer asked the judge to place him in a diversion program ... if the judge signs off and Wilkos completes the program, his charges get dropped. Wilkos is due back in court April 16.
TMZ broke the story ... Wilkos was hospitalized back in January after he said he was involved in a single-car accident. His blood alcohol level was a shocking .29. Miraculously, he was not seriously injured.