Driving under drug or alcohol intoxication is a severe offense that attracts severe legal penalties in California. Wet reckless is often a charge that a person pleads guilty when they are facing DUI criminal charges. This allows a defendant to be punished for a less severe offense. When you plead guilty or no contest for a wet reckless, you will be accepting that you were operating the vehicle recklessly but dispute intoxication at the time of driving. Not all individuals who face DUI charges will be offered a plea for reckless driving. You will be required to convince the prosecutor to drop your DUI charges. Guidance from an attorney is crucial if you are facing DUI charges and are hoping to get the charges reduced. Get in touch with us at The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm if you are facing DUI charges so that we can negotiate for lesser charges such as wet reckless or lesser penalties.

What is Wet Reckless a Charge Under California DUI Laws?

Under California Vehicle Code 23103.5, wet reckless is a reduction of charges offered to individuals who are facing charges for drunk driving. You cannot face an arrest or be charged with wet reckless in California. The charge often arises when you convince the prosecutor that you were not intoxicated. There are significant differences between dry and wet reckless in that a notation of alcohol or drug use will be necessary for a wet reckless. 

Dry reckless, on the other hand, is just another name for reckless driving and is used when the conviction is used as a plea bargain. It is crucial to understand the difference between the two since wet reckless is a priorable offense. If you face a conviction in the next ten years after a wet reckless, you are considered a repeat offender and face a more enhanced penalty. Not all defendants who face drunk driving charges have the privilege of receiving the plea bargain. Therefore, competent legal guidance will go a long way for you if you are in this situation.

Reckless driving is a typical plea bargain for many driving-related offenses. When the crimes are difficult to prove, and there are mitigating circumstances that make it expensive for the prosecutor, you can be allowed to plead guilty to reckless driving. California law defines reckless driving as operating a motor vehicle with disregard for other road users or property safety. Reckless driving is an infraction, and a conviction results in a $1,000 fine. 

When you are battling DUI charges under California Vehicle Code 23103, your attorney can help negotiate a plea bargain that carries lesser penalties. Although dry reckless is a better bargain than wet reckless, it is difficult to convince the prosecutor to offer you this bargain.

Getting Reckless Plea Bargain in California

A prosecutor will not always offer you a wet reckless plea bargain. As part of your defense, your attorney will convince the court to reduce your charges. Before you get a wet reckless in place of DUI, the decision must be agreed upon between you and the prosecutor. Once it is agreed upon, you are allowed to plead no contest or guilty to reckless driving. The prosecutor then dismisses the drunk driving charges. The prosecutor will then state for the record whether or not the ingestion of a drug or consumption of alcohol was in connection with the crime.

California considers anyone who has had a prior conviction within ten years as a repeat offender. Whether or not wet reckless is right for you will depend on the factors surrounding the case. If you had a past conviction for a DUI related offense, a wet reckless conviction would attract enhanced penalties.

Circumstances Under Which a Plea Bargain for Reckless Driving is Offered in California

Reckless driving is often a plea to many driving offenses, including DUI. However, defendants facing DUI do not automatically get the reckless driving plea bargain. You will be required to bargain and convince the prosecutor to offer you the charge reduction. If you are successful, you can avoid the mandatory jail sentence and escape the hefty fines accompanying a DUI conviction. Some of the circumstances in which you can get a wet reckless reduction include:

  • Your Blood Alcohol Content was 0.08% or Lower

Your blood alcohol content is one of the most significant indicators of a river operating under alcohol or drug influence. You will get charged with DUI if you are operating a vehicle with a standard driver’s license and your BAC is 0.08% or more. However, even when your BAC does not exceed the legal limit, and your conduct is influenced by alcohol or drugs, you can still get convicted. If your blood alcohol content was lower than the limit at the time of arrest, you could argue that you were not impaired. This will be easier for you to obtain the reckless driving plea bargain.

  • You do not have a History of Alcohol or Drug-Related Crimes

California DUI law seeks to punish individuals who operate vehicles while under alcohol or drug influence. Also, the law is stringent on repeat offenders. You have considered a repeat offender if you have a prior conviction for an offense related to the charges you are currently facing. If you do not have a DUI or DUID related conviction in your record, you are more likely to be offered the wet reckless plea bargain. However, even when you have a criminal record, a competent attorney could help you convince the court to reduce DUI charges to wet reckless.

  • Weaknesses in the Evidence Presented by the Prosecutor

There are specific elements of the crime that a prosecutor should establish when proving your guilt for drunk driving. These elements may include the fact that you were operating a motor vehicle, your BAC exceeded the legal limit, or your driving conduct was impaired by alcohol. These elements are not usually accessible for the prosecutor to establish. Sometimes the arresting officer may not have followed the right protocol while making the arrests. This creates loopholes in the prosecutor’s case. If you can create doubt in the prosecutor’s testimony, you may have an opportunity to argue the case and secure a plea bargain. 

  • When Your DUI Chemical Tests are not Administered Correctly

Specific rules govern how tests should get taken during and after an arrest for drunk driving. First, taking chemical tests is voluntary. Even though refusing the tests has legal consequences, you have a right to choose what tests you want to take. If the arresting officer uses force or threats to make you submit to the tests, the results cannot be used against you in the DUI case. If the arresting officer did not administer the chemical tests as per title 17, the prosecutor could offer you the wet reckless plea bargain.

Benefits of Getting a Wet Reckless Plea Bargain

Getting a plea bargain for DUI is one of the best things that could happen to you if you are battling DUI charges. Some of the benefits of agreeing to plead guilty to reckless driving when you are battling DUI charges include:

Shorter Jail or Prison Incarceration

A conviction for DUI attracts a penalty of six months in jail for a first offense. For subsequent DUI convictions, you will serve a jail sentence of one year. When your charge is reduced to recklessness, you will face a maximum of 90days in jail. The jail time you serve for a wet reckless is lesser than that of DUI. Should you get sentenced to probation for a DUI conviction and violate probation, the probation will get revoked, and you have to serve a six-month jail sentence. The probation conditions are set for wet recklessness, and a violation will only result in a three-month sentence. Therefore, convincing the prosecutor to offer you a plea bargain will ensure you spend less time in jail.

Less Compulsory jail sentence for a Repeat Offenders

When you have a prior DUI related conviction in California, a conviction for wet reckless or DUI conviction will attract a mandatory jail sentence. However, the time incarceration for a wet reckless is lesser than that of a regular DUI repeat offender. The compulsory sentence you receive for a wet reckless repeat offense is five days. A second and third DUI offense mandates 90 days and 120 days mandatory jail sentence. When you compare the necessary compulsory jail time, wet reckless is a better deal.

Lower Court Fines 

Payment of court fines is one of the common penalties you face after a conviction for drunk driving and related offenses. When one gets convicted for drunk driving, the court mandates that you pay court fines ranging from $1,000 to $3,000.A wet reckless plea allows you to pay half the fines.

You Serve a Shorter Probation

A DUI charge in California requires you to serve probation for five years. On the other hand, a defendant who gets a wet reckless plea bargain will be subjected to a probation sentence not exceeding three years. Serving shorter probation, you allow you to apply for expungement early. This removed the conviction in your record, and employers cannot find it when doing a background check. Getting your DUI charges reduced to wet reckless is a good deal since you can get a relief of the conviction after about two years of probation.

You will Avoid the Mandatory Driver’s License Suspension.

A first drunk driving conviction attracts a mandatory license suspension for up to six months. A second and third conviction for the offense will cause your driver’s license to be suspended for twenty-four to thirty-six months consecutively. If you refused to submit to chemical tests and are an underage driver, your license will automatically get suspended. Also, you will not have an opportunity to install an ignition interlock device.

When one gets convicted for wet reckless instead of DUI, the court will not suspend your license. Failure to take the blood and breath will also not attract a court-imposed license suspension. However, it is crucial to understand that even when the court does not suspend your license, the DMV requires you to schedule a hearing and contest an administrative suspension.

No Compulsory Installation of the IID

When the court suspends your license for drunk driving in California, you may be permitted to continue operating after installing an ignition interlock device. The IID is a small Breathalyzer that ensures you do not operate your vehicle with an alcohol content that exceeds the legal limit. For DUI repeat offenders, the installation of the IDD is compulsory. However, when you are convicted for a wet reckless with a prior DUI, installing the ignition interlock device is not mandatory.

Shorter Time in DUI School

Whether you are convicted for drunk driving or plead guilty for reckless driving, you will need to attend DUI School. When you end up with the plea bargain, you will attend DUI School for a maximum of six weeks. Getting convicted for DUI requires that they attend an alcohol education program for up to 120 days.

Setbacks of a Reckless Driving Conviction

Even though pleading guilty to reckless driving is beneficial when you face DUI charges, there are times when the two have similar consequences. The following are circumstances where getting a plea bargain will not benefit you:

  1. A wet reckless conviction is before subsequent drunk driving convictions. California DUI law imposes a harsh punishment on repeat offenders’ prior DUI offense, affecting subsequent connections for a related offense. Even after getting a plea bargain, the conviction still counts as a prior.
  2. You can still face a DMV license suspension for wet reckless. When you plead no contest or guilty of driving recklessly, the court will notify the DMV of your conviction. Even though your license suspension is not compulsory, you have to defend your driving privileges by requesting a DMV hearing. During the hearing, you can present evidence and cross-examine witnesses in an attempt to evade the suspension.
  3. A conviction for wet reckless is treated as a DUI by auto insurance companies in California. When your auto insurance providers are notified of your DUI conviction, they are likely to revise your policy and increase your monthly payments. Getting your DUI charges reduced to reckless driving will not change how your insurance company views the conviction.
  4. Your conviction can be seen in your background checks. Unless you apply for an expungement or sealing of your record, a reckless driving conviction is visible in your record. Your potential employers can use the conviction to discriminate against you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Wet Reckless In California?

Wet reckless is the informal name used to define a crime that a person charged with drunk driving pleads guilty to avoid DUI consequences. Since wet reckless is not a crime for which you can be charged, you will need to convince the judge to reduce the DUI charges to reckless driving. These are some commonly asked questions on wet reckless in California:

  1. Is wet reckless a criminal offense?

No. Wet reckless is not a crime for which you can be detained or charged by a prosecutor. When you take the plea of wet reckless for your drunk driving case, you will face misdemeanor penalties. Repeat DUI offenders will not have an opportunity to get a lesser offense.

  1. Is wet reckless better than DUI?

Yes. Wet reckless is often a plea bargain offered to defendants who are facing charges for drunk driving. This plea bargain is often available for first-time offenders. A plea bargain is a deal between the defendant and the prosecutor. When the deal is agreed upon, the prosecutor reduces your charges in exchange for pleading guilty to reckless driving. If you are convicted for a wet reckless, you will face lesser penalties. A wet reckless conviction attracts a jail sentence of up to 90 days, while a DUI conviction may require you to spend up to six months in County jail. Also, there is no automatic license suspension for reckless driving. 

  1. What is the difference between reckless driving and DUI?

When you are involved in an alcohol-related driving offense, several terms could be used to define the offense. If the prosecutor can prove that you operated a vehicle while under alcohol influence, you will get charged with DUI. The wet reckless is a charge devised as an incentive for DUI defendants to enter a plea bargain. As a result of the significant risk caused by a drunk driver. California law imposes a harsh punishment for individuals convicted of DUI.

  1. How many points is a wet reckless conviction in California?

Even though wet recklessness is a lesser offense than a conviction, a conviction will add two points to your driving record. This could cause you to lose your good driver discount. Also, the fees associated with wet recklessness are lower as well as the jail; sentence you serve after a conviction.

  1. How long will a wet reckless stay on your criminal record?

A conviction for wet reckless will remain your criminal record for up to ten years. If you commit a related offense within the ten years, you will be charged as a repeat offender. It is crucial to understand that a wet reckless conviction will still. If you commit a related offense within the ten years, you will be charged as a repeat offender. It is crucial to understand that a wet reckless conviction gets to the Department of Motor Vehicle. During license suspension, the DMV treats wet reckless the same as DUI.

  1. Can I expunge my wet reckless record in California?

Expunging a criminal record in California allows you to answer no when asked about potential employers’ past convictions. Just like DUI, you can expunge your wet reckless record under CPC 1203.4. However, there is a criterion you need to meet before qualifying for an expungement. You must have completed your probation when applying for the relief. Successful completion of probation means that you adhered to all the terms of your sentence, including payment of fines and regular check-ins with a probation officer. When you get your wet reckless record expunged, it will not be visible to people doing a background check on you. Also, an employer cannot discriminate against you or an already expunged conviction.

  1. Will a wet reckless conviction affect my Vehicle Insurance?

When you plead guilty to reckless driving as a plea bargain to drunk driving, you will face a lesser penalty. However, getting convicted for the offense will cause your auto insurance providers to view you as unsafe drivers. Most insurance providers check your driving record when you first sign a contract, and during renewal, a reckless driving conviction could significantly affect your premium.

  1. Does wet reckless show on my background check?

Yes. If you are convicted for wet reckless in California, the conviction will remain in your record until it is expunged or sealed. When you apply for employment, potential employers will do a background check on you and can find the records since they are public. However, a wet reckless does not carry as much stigma as a DUI conviction. If your current or potential job involves driving, a conviction for wet reckless could allow you to get the job or retain the existing one.

Find a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

Being arrested and charged with drunk driving in California can carry severe penalties. However, even when you face these charges, you will not always get convicted. With proper defense to the DUI case, you can convince the prosecutor to reduce your charges to wet reckless, which carries lesser penalties. However, you are required to plead guilty or no contest to driving recklessly. California law is often harsh on drivers who operate vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, you will require competent legal guidance to get the wet reckless plea bargain. We invite you to seek the guidance of The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm if you are facing DUI charges in the Los Angeles area. You can contact us at 310-935-1675 to discuss more details of your case.