Wet Reckless is a common way of pleading to a reduced DUI charge. Mostly, it happens when the prosecutor lacks enough evidence for a DUI case. Failure to obtain enough proof that the driver was indeed driving under the influence of an intoxicant usually culminates into a wet reckless charge. An evidence such as a low BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) in the defendant’s body can prompt a DUI attorney to seek for a DUI case dismissal, or settle for a reduction of the charges into wet reckless. However, it is essential that you understand how distinctive wet reckless is from the usual DUI. The consequential charges each may carry are also important to note. Our Vista DUI Attorney Law Firm Lawyers help you through any DUI case, specifically, handling wet reckless driving charges. Our DUI defense firm takes into consideration the uniqueness of charges and we craft legal strategies to defend the accusations.

Wet Reckless Under California Law

California vehicle code section 23103/23103.5 VC provides driving instances that lead to reckless driving. Such driving occurs when a person drives in willful disregard to the property or lives of others, whether on a highway, off-street parking or any other place that require speed consciousness like schools. The recklessness must be related to drunk-driving to qualify as wet reckless. Simply put, wet reckless is a DUI offense of reckless driving that; 

  1. Often is the consequence of a plea bargain to DUI charges,
  2. Is inclusive of a note that describes the defendant’s criminal history,
  3. Shows proof the act was either related to alcohol and/or drug usage.

A noteworthy point is that wet reckless can also be offered as an alternative or bargain to charges under VC 23152(b). The section establishes that it is an offense to drive while under an influence of 0.8% and above blood alcoholic content. A notation that shows proof of alcohol is important. Meanwhile, this is where the alteration between a conviction of dry reckless and wet reckless lies. Dry reckless charges do not contain any quotations for alcohol or drug usage. As a matter of fact, the conviction for reckless driving is a usual VC 23103 driving offense. Therefore, dry reckless holds great importance when convictions are results of DUI plea bargains.

Nevertheless, dry recklessness does not always hold that the defendant was driving recklessly. It is important that you grasp the contrast between these two charges. The reason utterly lies with wet reckless being a prior offense. 

 Priorable offenses are offenses that results to increased penalty charges for repeat offenders if they are convicted within a ten years duration of a DUI offense.

How Defendants gets a Plea for Wet Reckless

A judge may not automatically grant a plea for a wet reckless. Usually wet reckless is not something that a defendant could get arrested for. The plea bargain is also offered after your first offense. Otherwise, the wet reckless is an added advantage to repeat offenders. Furthermore, compulsory sentencing enhancements are eliminated for repeat offenders. The defendant would, therefore, escape the possibility of a mandatory jail term sentence. It is also possible to avoid court-imposed suspension of licenses and huge court fines.

Most wet reckless inquires range from whether a defendant should seek a plea bargain or rather stick to a DUI charge. The answer to whether a wet reckless is favorable lies within the trial’s circumstances. Particularly, the choice should be influenced by the defendant’s wet reckless or DUI criminal records. California state laws have a ten year look back duration for alcoholic and drug related offenses. It means that the potential of a penalty to increase if charged more than once with the offense is most likely within this period. Each time you get charged for a wet reckless within a look back period of ten years, your chances of receiving a heavier penalty increase.

A wet reckless is usually treated as a misdemeanor. The misdemeanor, however, applies for the first three consecutive charges. Until the fourth wet reckless charge, it is now considered a felony. A wet reckless may also be charged as a felony where the defendant perpetrated an injury caused by drugs or alcohol influence.

Differences between a Wet Reckless and DUI

A wet reckless may necessarily not attract similar consequences as would a DUI. Both cases would trigger different penalties from either the court, licensing agencies or employers. The conviction for wet reckless and DUI are therefore significant to each and vary distinctively. Specifically, the terminology for wet reckless does not describe a court charge. However, a defendant could have a conviction of reckless driving in his/her criminal records. The record notation assists the prosecutor to initiate future criminal background checks against the defendant.

DUI penalties also entail the defendant fitting their vehicle with an IID (Ignition interlock device). The conviction for a DUI will also grant an automatic license suspension. During some cases, the Department of Motor Vehicles may also decide to issue a license suspension before any court proceedings. The issued suspension would apply regardless of what the jury decides against the defendant. First time DUI offenders are usually issued a suspension lasting four months. However, the driver is also allowed to seek a restricted driving license. The restricted license, meanwhile would come into play after thirty days of hard driving suspension. What the jury or prosecutor may term as weakness in a trial is the potential to lack leading evidence. For instance, the defendant might have failed only one sobriety field test. Other cases where BAC is slightly below the 0.8%, a wet reckless could also apply. Therefore, having wet reckless in place of a DUI may sound impossible if one had actually been guilty of reckless driving. 

Another major difference occurs as the form of which a first DUI appears in criminal records. A first DUI offense is noted down as a misdemeanor whereas a wet reckless is recorded as a prior offense. The implication of both cases in the eyes of insurance agencies and driving regulators would most likely be the same. Insurance rates will most probably go high after a wet reckless. The plea bargain would also result in losing good driving discounts. Furthermore, a maximum jail term for wet reckless is considerably low. The jail term goes up to a maximum of 90 days. Court fines are significantly lower too compared to DUI charges. First time DUI offenders can spend up to six months of jail term in a California county jail.

Advantages of Wet Reckless

There are numerous benefits to opt for a wet reckless case rather than a DUI. The following are reasons why you should opt for the wet reckless.

  1. A wet reckless does not carry with it any stigmatization. Most people who opt for a wet reckless plea bargain do so to avoid the stigma associated with DUI cases. Ability to obtain a wet reckless therefore would serve as a relief from stress DUI charges.
  2. Ability to obtain a short jail term sentence. DUI cases are punishable by up to six months of jail time. However, wet reckless is punishable by a jail term not exceeding 90 days. A second or third time DUI misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year of a jail sentence.
  3. There are no compulsory sentence enhancements for repeat offenders. The following convictions apply for any misdemeanor DUI offense that has happened within ten years of conviction.
    • Ninety-six hours of jail time for first-time offenders.
    • Ninety hours of jail time for second-time offenders.
    • One hundred and twenty hours of jail time for third-time offenders.
  4. Probation terms are usually shorter for wet reckless. The offense carries a probation that does not exceed two years. DUI convicts usually receive probations that go up to five years.
  5. There are no compulsory license suspensions. DUI convictions are popular for automatically suspending driving licenses. However, when it comes to wet reckless the department of motor vehicle usually issues the following license suspensions; ● Six months license suspension for first-time offenders.
    • Two years of license suspension for second-time offenders.
    • Three-year license suspension for third-time offenders.
  6. Wet reckless court fines are usually lower than DUI fines. Both reckless driving and DUI convictions attract a maximum fine of $1000. Meanwhile, the court may issue additional penalty assessments. Usually, the penalty assessments for wet reckless are half the penalty assessments for DUI convictions.
  7. The education program for alcohol is shorter for wet reckless compared to DUI. First wet reckless convicts are required to enroll in four months in these educational programs.

A DUI convict might get a maximum of nine months of education in the school. Nevertheless, getting a wet reckless over another wet reckless or DUI offense, within ten years, attracts nine months of schooling. For the second or third time DUI offenders, 18-30 months of an alcohol education program is required. Driving under the influence classes are directed by the department of health care services. The DUI programs are meant to reduce the chances of DUI repeat crimes. The programs also assist learners to pursue and address drug or alcohol-related challenges.

  1. Priors of earlier DUI offenses. DUIs usually have prior look back period of ten years. Therefore, subsequent DUI cases will result in harsher punishment. Meanwhile, when a person has been convicted of DUI and later on is convicted of wet reckless they may avoid priors. The avoidance is applicable even where wet reckless and DUI occurred ten years apart. For example, a man gets charged for first DUI in 2012. After six years come 2018, the man is charged and convicted for a second DUI. Therefore, because the second DUI has occurred within a decade from the first. The man gets more severe punishment. Let us now look at the case of a woman who got DUI charges in 2012. After six years come 2018, the woman gets DUI but her attorney succeeds to negotiate a plea bargain. The woman therefore receives wet reckless charges. Therefore, despite the woman getting wet reckless within a period of less than a decade apart from her first DUI. The 2010 charges will not trigger second DUI charges and therefore, the court will be more lenient with the woman. The punishment, therefore, will be more considerate and less harsh.
  2. Wet reckless convictions do not require the defendant’s vehicle being fitted with an ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device requires that one driving is controlled as a condition before reinstating the license.

Disadvantages of Wet Reckless

Limitations of wet reckless are usually the similarities that occur between DUI convictions and wet reckless. It is unfortunate that in California law, wet reckless is at times treated as a DUI under the following circumstances;

  1. The department of motor vehicles will suspend your license if the following statements holds true;
    • Your blood alcohol content was 0.08% or above
    • When you lose your department of motor vehicle administration as per the hearing
    • However, the suspension of the driving license is not automatic as with DUI convictions. 
  2. Wet reckless is termed as a previous DUI. Getting conviction for any subsequent DUI within a decade of a wet reckless charge would count as a California DUI. Therefore, one would be charged as a repeat offender. Implications of repeat offender charges cannot be overemphasized since subsequent DUI convictions usually attract felony punishments.         
  3. Wet reckless convictions affect your insurance terms. Insurance agencies may decide to raise the insurance rates or even cancel the insurance deal. A lot of insurance agencies usually stigmatize wet reckless similarly with DUI convictions.
  4. Negotiating to get wet reckless charges rather than a DUI is complicated and stressful. The stakes are not defined and there is no guarantee that a defendant will get wet reckless.
  5. The defendant will always receive two points on driving records of the department of motor vehicle.

Criminal Implications of a Wet Reckless

We receive a number of inquiries on our desk concerning how wet reckless cases are recorded in one’s criminal history. Of course, wet reckless cases are misdemeanors and should, therefore, be recorded in one’s criminal record. However, the wet reckless would serve as a criminal offense if it is repeated by a first-time offender. Meanwhile, job seekers are usually afraid that their past criminal record will come back to haunt them. Although the department of justice might have not recorded wet recklessness for first-time offenders, it is not wise that you lie about it while interviewing for jobs. 

The department of justice might at times have recorded the wet reckless and it should not seem to the employer that you are trying to be dishonest. The job seeker should therefore when asked accept to have been convicted of wet reckless at one time. This should apply even where your records do not list the offense. Most attorneys will persuade scared job hunters to seek a 1203.4 jury dismissal of the conviction. Any experienced attorney in your area would easily seek a dismissal to enable you to succeed in your job hunt.

The possibility of expungement would also save you from criminal records. An expungement would assist people looking for deniability of a prior conviction. The help of a qualified attorney is highly recommended before pursuing an expungement. Legal expertise is essential to help you understand the process of obtaining an expungement, the associated limitations and whether an expungement is favorable in your given circumstance. The expungement would, however, require that you have completed a probation successfully and was found with no violations during the said probation. It is important to note that a DUI convict would find it very hard to obtain an expungement

However, a wet reckless looks much better on one’s record than a DUI. A DUI may disqualify one’s ability to acquire certain certifications, licensing and qualifications.

How Do I Find a Vista Attorney Experienced With Wet Reckless Near Me?

Pitching a successful plea bargain through a wet reckless calls for extensive criminal law knowledge. A knowledgeable attorney endowed with quality expertise in DUI cases and criminal defense is highly recommendable. At Vista DUI Attorney Law Firm, we have highly trained attorneys with a track record of successfully handling these cases. The attorneys are well-versed with the ins and outs of DUI court. We have successfully obtained wet reckless pleas of bargains and we believe yours will be a similar case. We serve clients living in and around the environs of Vista California. Let our DUI attorneys handle your case and ensure you get favorable outcomes. Give us a call to speak to one of our criminal defense attorneys. Our attorneys will guide you on the process, the limitations associated with obtaining a wet reckless, the legal complications and implications for being charged with wet reckless, and the associated penalties for wet reckless. The telephone number is 760-691-1540 and we are open for any inquiries that you might have.