619-535-7150 / 760-932-0179


San Diego Wet Reckless DUI Attorney

If you are arrested and charged with a DUI involving alcohol or drugs, you have the right to a sound defense from an experienced attorney. Our team is skilled in creating a solid defense with the goal of getting your case dismissed. During the investigation and defense stages of your case (see 10 Stages of a California DUI), your private DUI attorney will work to develop and secure a reduced charge and sentence by means of a plea bargain.

A plea bargain typically involves negotiating and presenting your case in such a way as to receive a reduced charge. Those reduced charges may include

a) a California “wet reckless”

b) a California “dry reckless”

c) an exhibition of speed

d) drunk or intoxicated in public

e) a combination of traffic violations

Often people have the misconception that a first DUI offense will result in a quick resolution, however the state of California views a DUI as a serious offense and prosecutes offenders quickly and aggressively. We believe that one of the most important aspects of establishing a solid defense is to gather evidence quickly and work hard to get the case dismissed or get a satisfactory plea bargain that will greatly reduce the charges. The following information will explain one of the most commonly utilized plea bargains, known as a California wet reckless.

California Wet Reckless (VC 23103/ VC 23103.5)

A California wet reckless is the most common sentence reduction obtained in a DUI case. The term “wet” refers to a driver who was in control of, or at least involved with, a vehicle used in an alcohol or drug related offense. In California, a wet reckless is not a charge that can be given upon arrest. It is a charge that can only be applied as part of the plea-bargaining and settlement phase of the DUI process. Although there are often advantages to receiving a wet reckless in place of a DUI, there are also consequences that should be thoughtfully considered with your private attorney.

There are several factors that can help the chances of reducing your DUI to a wet and reckless.

1. There may be weaknesses in the case against you. Our attorney's can help find these weaknesses.

2.  If your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is close to o.o8% you may have a good chance of getting your case reduced.

3. If the prosecutor in the case thinks that the case might go to trial, they may reduce the charge to a wet reckless to be assured that they convict you rather than possibly loose at trial.

Advantages of a Wet Reckless

No mandatory jail time for repeat offenders

In many cases, a plea bargain to change a DUI charge to a wet reckless offers significant advantages. For an individual who has been previously convicted of a DUI within the past 10 years, a wet reckless may help that individual avoid mandatory jail time. A wet reckless does not necessitate jail time regardless of the number of prior DUI charges. For example, if an individual were facing a third DUI charge in California, he or she could avoid 120 days or more of jail time if the offense was successfully reduced to a wet reckless.

Decreased probation period

The period of probation is reduced under a wet reckless charge. Typically, a DUI in California requires a three to five year probationary period. San Diego County mandates 5 years in nearly all cases. If a charge is successfully changed to a wet reckless in California, the required probation period is decreased to between 1 and 3 years. This is especially beneficial for individuals seeking employment, as a background check will indicate if an individual is on active probation. Additionally, a charge cannot typically be expunged while the offender is in a probationary period.

Decreased maximum jail sentence

In California, a DUI charge mandates a 6-month jail sentence for a first offense and up to a year for a second or third offense. A wet reckless mandates a maximum of 90 days in jail. In the event that the offender violates a condition of his or her probation, a judge may require jail time. If the offender has the charged changed to a wet reckless, that jail time would not exceed 90 days.

Reduced fines

A DUI or California Wet Reckless charge in California both carry a maximum monetary penalty of $1,000. However, a DUI typically also involves court-imposed “penalty assessments”, which can be up to $3,000. This does not include the cost of mandated alcohol and drug abuse classes and other possible expenses. An individual who pleads down to a wet reckless charge in California typically accrues about half of the expenses of a DUI.

No mandatory DMV suspension of driver’s license

A first DUI offense always involves an automatic license suspension from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If the offender refuses to participate in a chemical blood alcohol test or if the offender was under the age of 21 at the time of the arrest, a conviction can result in a 1-year driver’s license suspension. Additionally, if the offender is caught driving with a suspended license, other penalties may be added, including jail time and/or a probation violation.

A wet reckless in California does not automatically require a driver’s license suspension. This is especially beneficial for an individual who refused the breath or blood alcohol concentration test and faces a 1-year suspension of his/her license. Additionally, a wet reckless conviction may have a less detrimental impact on certain professional driver’s licenses or commercial driver’s licenses. Please note that an individual charged with a wet reckless may still face a license suspension if he/she has a blood alcohol content of over 0.08% or if he/she loses the DMV hearing (see “10 Stages of a California DUI”).

Possibility of avoiding alcohol education program

A first DUI conviction in California requires the completion of at least a 12-week alcohol education program. If the conviction is successfully changed to a wet reckless, the offender may be required to attend a 6-week class or may avoid the classes altogether. Under legislation passed in 2009, an individual who is convicted of a wet reckless and has a prior DUI or wet reckless conviction is required to attend a 9-month court ordered program. An individual convicted of a second DUI is required to attend an alcohol education program for between 18 and 30 months.

Disadvantages of a Wet Reckless

In the majority of situations, a wet reckless charge is beneficial, but there can also be drawbacks depending on the situation. For instance, if an individual has been charged with a DUI within 10 years of receiving a wet reckless conviction, the court will treat the recent charge as a second DUI offense and will prosecute accordingly.  Also, an insurance company may still increase an individual’s premiums or cancel the insurance policy as if the individual had been charged with a DUI. You might also still lose your license if convicted of a wet reckless. A wet reckless will not automatically trigger a license suspension, but the California Department of Motor Vehicles will impose a suspension if you lose your DMV hearing or your BAC was 0.08% or higher. 

Call Our San Diego DUI Attorney

A DUI charge can bring about great amounts of stress, especially if you depend of your driver’s license to get to work and carry out your daily routine to support your family. Our experienced team will carefully review your case and work closely with you to get you the best outcome possible and make the process as painless as possible.

Call us for a free consultation and we can begin to discreetly and respectfully investigate your case. Our attorneys are specifically trained to handle these types of cases in San Diego and Orange County. We can work with you to create a thorough, effective defense strategy to help you fight your charges.

Contact our office today at 619-535-7150 for a FREE DUI consultation.

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