What is a “Wet Reckless” Charge in California?
Although a wet reckless driving charge is the most common type of plea bargain offered to DUI offenders, it does not guarantee that it will be offered in your case. The primary benefits of pleading guilty to a reduced charge include possibly not having to go to jail and not having a lengthy license suspension put in place.
If you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in California, you may be able to get this charge reduced to a lesser offense. In order to do this, however, you must have a strong argument for your defense—and have an experienced California DUI attorney to represent your case for the best chance at receiving this plea bargain.
Benefits of a Wet Reckless Charge
“Wet reckless” is a charge reduction authorized by California Vehicle Code 23103.5 VC. It carries the same penalty as VC 23103 (“dry reckless”) and offers several benefits over a DUI, including:
- Mandatory fines (up to $1,000) may be reduced;
- Mandatory alcohol-related classes may be reduced;
- Jail time may be reduced (five days to three months), if not eliminated entirely;
- Elimination of the requirement to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle. This is normally required after a DUI conviction;
- Ability to maintain jobs and/or professional licenses that forbid a DUI conviction; and
- Your criminal record will show a wet reckless conviction as opposed to a DUI.
It is important to note that while your DUI offense may be reduced to a “reckless driving” offense in the eyes of the law, a wet reckless charge can still count against you in the future. For example, if you are convicted for a DUI within 10 years of pleading guilty to a wet reckless charge, your case will be treated as if you are a repeat DUI offender.
Disadvantages of a Wet Reckless Charge
The biggest disadvantage of entering a plea of “wet reckless” is that you are accepting a guilty verdict without a chance of appealing the charge. There are other “better” resolutions that can come with a standing trial in a DUI case, including:
- The prosecutor could drop all charges before trial;
- The judge could dismiss all charges before trial; or
- You could obtain a “not guilty” verdict.
However, winning a DUI case can be challenging without the assistance of an experienced California DUI attorney and should not be taken lightly. Entering a plea bargain can help you maintain your record and reduce the charges laid out against you when you would otherwise be found guilty of a DUI under California law, and a wet reckless plea bargain should be always be considered when possible.
In addition to a guilty verdict, you may still face a license suspension from the DMV, as this process is separate from the mandatory license suspension that comes with a criminal DUI conviction. In order to keep your license, you must request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of your arrest.
In the same vein, your insurance company may also increase your rates, similar to how they would with a DUI conviction.
Contact an Experienced California DUI Attorney
Being arrested for a DUI does not necessarily mean that this is the charge you will receive on your record. With proper planning and strong legal defense, you may have this charge reduced to a “wet reckless” offense or eliminated altogether.
If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI in California, then you’ll need to act fast in order to have the best chance of receiving a wet reckless plea bargain. The sooner you are able to retain a lawyer who will fight on your behalf, the better chance you have at getting the best possible outcome. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact The Law Office of Amy Chapman today.