DUI Defense: What is a "Wet Reckless"?

Wet Reckless Plea Bargain

Driving under the influence is not a charge to take lightly. With considerable criminal penalties and consequences that can have a short- and long-term impact on your life, DUI charges demand the attention of proven attorneys who can fight for a positive resolution. This not only means fighting for charge dismissals, when appropriate, but also lesser penalties and charges – including a wet reckless.

What is a Wet Reckless Charge in California?

The term "wet reckless" refers to a type of plea bargain prosecuting attorneys can offer to DUI suspects in California. In short, it is the first level of DUI reduction. Although police officers cannot arrest you specifically for wet reckless driving, the prosecution may decide to offer suspects a wet reckless plea bargain after an arrest. The name "wet reckless" implies that the driver was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, but is typically considered a less serious offense than standard drunk driving.

Wet Reckless Penalties California

Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, a wet reckless DUI reduction may be advantageous. For instance, California law does not delineate a mandatory sentence enhancement for repeat wet reckless offenders. In other words, it doesn't matter how many prior DUIs you were convicted of; a wet reckless conviction doesn't necessitate any jail time. Of course, this doesn't mean the court will not impose a jail sentence. It simply means that the court is not obligated to enhance your sentence.

If the court does sentence you to jail for wet reckless driving, you will not spend more than 90 days in incarceration. Unlike wet reckless driving, DUI carries a maximum jail sentence of six months for your first conviction. Multiple DUI offenses are punishable by up to one year in jail, or more depending on the factors involved. On the other hand, wet reckless driving cannot incur more than 90 days of incarceration. Similarly, wet reckless driving is punishable by a shorter period of probation.

Your first DUI conviction can result a six-month driver's license suspension. Subsequent offense are punishable by one, two, and three-year suspensions. Wet reckless driving doesn't necessitate any period of driver's license suspension. However, you may receive a driver's license suspension from the DMV. After a DUI arrest, you can fight for your driving privilege at a DMV hearing. If you lose the hearing, though, the DMV can still suspend your driver's license.

What are the Consequences of a Wet Reckless Conviction?

While a wet reckless charge may not result in the same legal consequences as a typical drunk driving conviction, it can still count as "prior offense" on your driving record. In other words: if you are accused of wet reckless driving, prior DUI offenses will not count against you; however, if you are accused of standard DUI, the court may use prior wet reckless convictions to enhance the charges held against you. The court will view your wet reckless conviction like it would a standard DUI.

Similarly, your car insurance company will treat wet reckless conviction like it would a typical drunk driving charge. If you take a wet reckless plea bargain, you could end up losing your car insurance policy. At best, your provider will label you as an "at risk" driver, take away your good driver discount, and raise the price of your insurance coverage.

Do you need a Ventura DUI defense attorney?

At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we are committed to helping the accused in Ventura, Los Angeles, and the surrounding area avoid the consequences associated with DUI. If you were arrested for drunk or drugged driving, your insurance policy, driver's license, and freedom are on the line. Let us help! We have decades of combined legal experience helping people like you combat criminal accusations. Don't plead guilty before our Ventura DUI lawyers have helped you make an informed decision.

To see what our DUI defense team can do for your case, contact us for a free case evaluation.