In California, you can face a number of serious charges if you are accused of driving under the influence (DUI). In some cases, the prosecution may offer drivers accused of a DUI a plea bargain with lessened charges. These lessened charges can include California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5: Wet Reckless.
Drivers, make sure you understand the penalties associated with a wet reckless charge before accepting any plea bargain involving VC 23103/23103.5. The Simmrin Law Group can provide detailed information about your options if you’ve been charged.
Providing a Legal Definition for Wet Reckless Charges
Wet reckless charges can be tricky to understand because they are only used as part of a plea bargain in cases involving violations of charges, that can include:
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b): Driving With a Blood Alcohol Content Of 0.08 Percent or Higher
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a): Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
- California Vehicle Code Section 23140: Under 21 DUI With Blood Alcohol Content Between 0.05-0.07 Percent
This means that a driver cannot face a wet reckless charge at the time they are pulled over by a police officer. Instead, prosecutors may choose to offer a wet reckless charge if they think they might have difficulties winning a DUI case.
When Is a Wet Reckless Charge Likely to Be Offered?
A plea deal for wet reckless may be offered anytime prosecutors want to save time and money by avoiding a trial. Prosecutors decide to offer wet reckless charges for many reasons, including:
- A police officer may have lacked probable cause to stop a driver
- The police department may have handled or stored evidence improperly
- The driver did not demonstrate dangerous driving
- The driver’s blood alcohol content was at or close to 0.08%
Typically, this plea deal is offered if the prosecution does not feel confident that they will be able to convict the defendant of a DUI. Drivers may also see benefits in accepting a wet reckless charge. Generally, this charge will not be punished as harshly as a DUI conviction.
However, all drivers in California should be aware that a wet reckless is considered a priorable offense. This is important if a driver is pulled over for another DUI. The wet reckless will remain on the driver’s record, and it will count as a previous DUI conviction in this case. Drivers with previous DUI convictions will face harsher penalties in court if they get arrested again.
It’s important that you talk to an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney to discuss your options when offered a wet reckless plea bargain. You may be in a strong enough position that you are better off fighting your DUI charge in court.
Penalties for Wet Reckless Charges
Wet reckless is considered a misdemeanor charge under California VC Section 23103/23103.5. Drivers convicted of wet reckless charges can face up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000. However, in most cases, drivers do not face the maximum penalties for wet reckless charges.
Drivers convicted of wet reckless are also subject to an array of conditions that must be met, including:
- Attending a DUI program
- Maintaining a valid driver’s license and insurance
- Not driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in one’s system.
While a wet reckless can be counted as a prior DUI if a driver faces a subsequent conviction in the next 10 years, it is not viewed as such at the time of the conviction. Because it is not viewed as a DUI conviction, it does not subject the driver to an automatic suspension of their license by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Understanding the Difference Between Dry Reckless and Wet Reckless Charges
Wet reckless charges are not the only charges used in plea bargains for DUIs in California. In some cases, a driver may be able to secure charges under California Vehicle Code Section 23103: Dry Reckless.
In many ways, dry reckless and wet reckless charges are very similar. However, dry reckless charges are more favorable to drivers because they are not priorable. This means that if a driver has a dry reckless charge on their record, it will not count against them if they are pulled over for a DUI in the future.
A driver cannot “beat” a wet reckless charge since this charge is offered as part of a plea bargain. However, a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to help drivers convince the prosecution to accept a dry reckless plea instead.
Other Plea Bargain Charges
When the prosecution does not feel their case is strong enough to convict a defendant for DUI, they tend to view wet reckless as the next best option since it counts as a priorable offense. However, your DUI lawyer will likely try and push them to accept a lesser charge.
Reckless driving (dry reckless) is the most common charge for which your attorney will push. However, depending on your situation, they could potentially also get you an agreement to plead guilty to charges of an exhibition of speed under California VC Section 23109(c).
Examples of Situations Involving Wet Reckless Charges
Check out these examples to learn more about wet reckless charges in California:
The police pull over a woman who they suspect of drinking and driving. She is not breaking any laws, but they feel suspicious anyway. Her BAC measures at 0.08, and they charge her with a DUI. However, the prosecution decides to offer her wet reckless charges because the police officers did not have probable cause to stop her.
A man is pulled over for driving recklessly. The police officer who pulls him over measures his BAC and finds it to be over 0.08 percent. The driver is charged with a DUI, but the police officer fails to properly record the BAC test. The driver is offered a plea bargain with wet reckless charges.
Getting Legal Help Dealing with Wet Reckless Charges
Drivers accused of a DUI can face serious penalties. In some cases, the prosecution may offer to lessen these penalties with a plea bargain involving California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5: Wet Reckless. The Simmrin Law Group can go over any plea bargains to see if they are right for you.
Give us a call or complete our online contact form to learn more. Our team of professional criminal defense lawyers can provide you with a free initial case evaluation.