Unlike typical charges, a defendant cannot initially be arrested and charged with “wet reckless.” Rather, it is possible to have a DUI charge reduced as part of a plea agreement. The term wet reckless is simply a common way to describe the reduction of a DUI charge to a reckless driving charge, with a note on record that alcohol was involved. A reduced DUI charge is usually extended only to those who are facing a first-time DUI offense and is by no means a guarantee. Read this article to gain a better understanding of what wet and reckless in California could mean for you or your loved one.

Considerations for Pleading Guilty to Reckless Driving

The prosecution may offer a plea bargain for a “wet reckless” if they believe there is some weakness to the DUI charge or the defendant has a skilled DUI defense attorney. If a defendant can get a DUI charge reduced to reckless driving, with alcohol involvement noted, that may be a good option. However, pleading guilty to any reduced charge will still incur a criminal record. If the defendant is acquitted for a DUI, their record stays clean. Speak with a reputable attorney about the odds of acquittal for your specific case.

Keep in mind that a wet reckless charge will still be considered a prior offense if the defendant is arrested for driving under the influence in the future. A repeat offender will incur the same penalty standards for a second offense DUI. If a driver has had three or more DUI convictions within the last ten years or if the inebriated driving caused serious injury to another person, the driver will likely be facing a felony DUI charge.

Advantages to Pleading Guilty for a Wet and Reckless

There are a number of advantages to pleading guilty to a wet reckless charge in California rather than facing a DUI charge. In the eyes of peers, employers, and other authorities, the stigma for a “wet and reckless” conviction does not carry the same weight as “driving under the influence.” In fact, if one’s employment involves driving, a wet reckless conviction could allow for their job to be kept!

Although probation is unlikely to be completely avoided with a wet reckless, the defendant faces 1-2 years of probation rather than the 3-5 years they could be sentenced with a DUI conviction. Mandatory “drunk driving” class hours are also minimized when found guilty of a wet reckless. Another benefit of agreeing to a reduced “wet reckless” charge is that the court will likely not order the convicted person to install an ignition interlock system on their car.

Penalties of a Wet and Reckless Conviction in California

After pleading guilty to a wet reckless charge in California, the defendant will still need to complete a court ordered program for those found driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A wet reckless driving conviction in California is not just a slap on the wrist, it is a misdemeanor and the convicted person will still have a criminal record. However, compared to a DUI conviction, penalties of a wet and reckless verdict are much lighter.

  • Reduced fines – unlike DUI charges which can cost thousands of dollars
  • No mandatory jail sentence – though it may be 90 days
  • Minimized probation time is possible
  • No court-imposed suspension of the driver’s license

Other Outcomes of a Wet Reckless in California

Although the court will not automatically impose a driver’s license suspension for a wet reckless, the Department of Motor Vehicles can still suspend a license if the defendant refused testing or if their BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) was 0.08% at the time of arrest. If you or your loved one is predicted to have their driver’s license suspended by the DMV, it is advisable to appear at the DMV administrative hearing with a reputable DUI attorney.

Another DMV related consequence of a wet reckless is that the convicted person’s driving record will still receive two penalty points. If a driver accumulates too many penalty points on their license within a certain period of time the DMV may take action against that person’s driving privileges. Additionally, points on a driver’s record can impact their auto insurance rates and may even cause cancellation of the policy.

Posting Bail for a Wet and Reckless

If you or your loved one has been arrested for DUI and are looking to get the charge reduced to a wet reckless, posting bail is still necessary in order to be released before the scheduled court hearing. Once you or your loved one has been released from jail it is advisable to work with an experienced DUI lawyer.

To get out of jail fast, call Frank Calabretta’s Bail House and speak with one of our compassionate, licensed bail bond agents. We are available around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and every day of the year – including holidays. Call us at (916) 782-7048 or message us using our contact form.

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