Reducing the DUI Charge to a “Wet Reckless”
What is a Wet Reckless?
In some cases where our client’s have been arrested and charged with a DUI we may be able to negotiate a settlement where the DUI charge is dismissed and replaced with the lesser offense of “wet reckless”. The wet reckless charge, found in California Vehicle Code §23103/23103.5, implies that you were driving recklessly and that alcohol was involved.
This charge has many advantages over a DUI and an Orange County DUI attorney can be successful in getting this deal if:
- Your attorney exposes significant weaknesses in the case against you and the DA would rather settle the case than take a chance on losing at jury trial; or
- Your blood-alcohol level was low, you were cooperative, and your DUI lawyer can convince the DA that you deserve to have the charge reduced.
Advantages of a Wet Reckless
- No Mandatory Jail Time: Even if you have one or more prior DUI’s within the past 10 years, if you plead to a wet reckless there is no mandatory jail time.
- No DUI Conviction on Your Record: The wet reckless is a simple traffic offense and usually does not need to be disclosed on job applications, rental applications, and professional licensing applications.
- Shorter Probation Period: If you are convicted of a DUI you will be placed on probation for three to five years. The probation period for a wet reckless is usually between one and two years. This is important for two reasons. First, while you are on probation you are subject to jail time if you violate your probation. Second, being on probation will show up on a background check. Thus, the quicker you are off probation the better.
- Reduced Fines: While court fines for a DUI are typically around $2,000.00, the court fines for a wet reckless are substantially lower. (Usually between $400.00 and $1,200.00)
- No Mandatory License Suspension: There is no conviction suspension for a wet reckless. If you are convicted of a DUI the court must report this conviction to the DMV which will, in turn, suspend your driver’s license. Conviction for a wet reckless requires no such conviction suspension. WARNING: If your blood-alcohol was over a .08% and you either lost your DMV hearing or didn’t request a DMV hearing, then the DMV will issue an APS suspension which will be the same length as a DUI suspension. Therefore, the only way to avoid a suspension altogether is to win at the DMV.
- Shorter DUI School (Alcohol Program): Conviction for a first-offense DUI requires that you complete a three, six or nine month alcohol program. A DUI conviction with priors requires an 18-month alcohol program. But a wet reckless conviction only requires a six-week alcohol program.
There are many benefits to the wet reckless plea. However, it is important to remember that a wet reckless plea will be considered as a “prior offense” if you are charged with a DUI in the future. For example; If you plead to a wet reckless now and three years later you are arrested again for DUI, the wet reckless conviction will be considered a prior alcohol offense and the new DUI will be punished as a second offense.
The wet reckless is not something that is regularly offered by the District Attorney. It takes a skillful DUI attorney to negotiate this plea. Moreover, the District Attorney is much more likely to offer this plea to an attorney with a winning trial record. Call us today at (949) 559-5500 to discuss your chances of securing this plea.