Is a Wet Reckless Better than a DUI?

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI in the Southern California, you should take these charges seriously as you could be facing jail time, fines, and suspension of your driving privileges.

Fortunately, if you decide to work with an experienced DUI Defense Lawyer, it is possible to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.

When it comes to reduced charges, your lawyer may convince the prosecutor that your case should be settled for a wet reckless (Vehicle Code 23103, 23103.5) rather than a DUI (Vehicle Code 23152) because the evidence against you has problems.

The phrase, “wet reckless” is a plea-bargained deal or settlement for an individual charged with DUI, whether it involves alcohol or drugs.  In some cases, pleading to a wet reckless charge is better than pleading to a DUI, particularly when it comes to the penalties associated with the charges.  When you plead to a wet reckless, the fines you will have to pay may be less than half of the fines for a DUI conviction.  Other advantages of a wet reckless charge include:

  1. Shorter jail sentences. There is no mandatory jail time for even a second or third wet reckless conviction, and the maximum amount of jail you can receive for a wet reckless is ninety days.  Even with a first time DUI, the maximum jail sentence that you could receive is six months.
  2. Shorter probation periods. The probationary period for a wet reckless is typically one or two years whereas, for a DUI, it is three to five years.
  3. No mandatory license suspension. First-time DUI offenders face a mandatory six-month license suspension from the DMV, and it can be longer when convicted of subsequent offenses.  A wet reckless, on the other hand, does not require any form of license suspension.
  4. No mandatory sentencing enhancements. If you have a prior DUI on your record and you are arrested and charged with a second offense within 10 years, your sentence will likely be harsher than what you received after your first DUI conviction.  However, if your second DUI charges are reduced to a wet reckless, you usually will not be subject to additional penalties.  In addition, if you are a repeat wet reckless offender, the penalties will generally remain the same.
  5. No ignition interlock device requirement. A wet reckless conviction will not trigger the requirement that you install an ignition interlock device on your car as a condition of receiving a restricted license or reinstating your license.
  6. A wet reckless may not affect certain professional licenses.

While these are some of the advantages of being convicted of a wet reckless instead of a DUI, there are also some disadvantages.  For instance, if you are arrested again in the future and charged with DUI, your prior wet reckless conviction will count as a prior DUI conviction for sentencing purposes if the wet reckless conviction was within 10 years from the new DUI arrest.  In addition, even if your charges are reduced to a wet reckless, you will still have to deal with the DMV, which will automatically suspend your driver’s license when you are arrested for DUI.  You will have to challenge this suspension by requesting a hearing within ten days of your DUI arrest.

Call an Expert and Dedicated Riverside DUI-Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!

If you have been arrested for DUI in Southern California, your attorney may be able to have your charges reduced to a wet reckless.  However, your eligibility will usually depend on many factors including your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of your arrest, whether you have any prior DUI convictions, and whether other circumstances might warrant the charge reduction.

Of course, a wet reckless is not an ideal solution for everyone, particularly if you can have your charges dismissed.  At the Law Offices of Manuel J. Barba, our team can help you determine the options worth pursuing in your case.