Lawmakers in California have set up multiple laws designed to punish dangerous drivers. California Vehicle Code Section 23103: Dry Reckless is an example of one of these laws, used to charge drivers that endanger the safety of others.
Individuals in Los Angeles charged with reckless driving often face harsh penalties, including fines and time in jail. Despite its severity, VC 23103 is also sometimes used as a reduced charge for individuals accused of driving under the influence (DUI).
The Simmrin Law Group can provide you with information about the complicated uses of VC 23103.
VC 23103 as a Reduced DUI Charge
DUI accusations are very serious criminal charges that can cost a driver their license while leading to high fines and a jail sentence. The court system uses California Vehicle Code Section 23152 to prosecute drunk driving.
In some cases, a prosecutor may offer reduced charges as part of a plea bargain. VC 23103 is one of the common reduced charges offered in this situation. Be aware that a dry reckless charge is usually only offered if a driver’s BAC was close to the legal limit of 0.08. Drivers with an incredibly high BAC are unlikely to be offered reduced charges.
A dry reckless charge can benefit drivers because it is not treated as “priorable” by the state. This means that a dry reckless charge will not count against a driver if they are later arrested for a DUI.
Reckless Driving as a Criminal Charge
Drivers in Los Angeles can also face criminal charges for reckless driving. Criminal reckless driving occurs when a driver shows wanton disregard for the health of other people while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers may face VC 23103 charges while operating a vehicle:
- On a Highway
- In an Off-Street Parking Facility
Drivers can be charged under VC 23103 even if they don’t intend to hurt anyone. Examples of actions that can result in a reckless driving charge include:
- All Forms of Daredevil Behavior
- Swerving Repeatedly
- Speeding Excessively or Racing
- Demonstrating Road Rage
- Illegally Passing Other Vehicles
- Driving on a Sidewalk or the Wrong Way on a Road
Penalties for Reckless Driving in Los Angeles
Individuals convicted of a dry reckless charge can face the following penalties:
- Jail Time: Up to 90 Days
- Fines: Up to $1,000
- Probation: Up to 2 Years
These penalties can seem very serious, especially considering that drivers will also have 2 points added to their license if they are convicted under PC 23103. However, a first time DUI conviction can lead to:
- Jail Time: Up to 6 Months
- Fines: Up to $2,000
- License Suspension: Up to 1 Year
Drivers convicted of a DUI also have to complete an alcohol treatment program and their offense can be used against them if they are accused of another DUI in the future. These differences are sometimes used to influence drivers to accept a dry reckless charge as part of a plea bargain agreement.
Examples of Reckless Driving / Dry Reckless
Driver A gets behind the wheel while in the mood to race. She speeds around town, runs a red light, and jumps a curve to pass a slow-moving vehicle. A police officer pulls her over and charges her with reckless driving for wantonly putting other drivers in danger.
Driver B has a few drinks at a party and then gets in his car. He drives home, operating his vehicle erratically, and a police officer pulls him over. His BAC is right at the legal limit, and his lawyer encourages him to accept a dry reckless charge when the prosecution offers it as part of a plea bargain.
Dry Reckless / Reckless Driving and Criminal Defenses
Many drivers do not want to defend against a dry reckless charge. Instead, they accept the charge as a way to avoid harsher penalties for a DUI.
However, drivers that are accused of reckless driving for endangering others may want to fight against these charges. A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer may be able to argue that the driver did not wantonly disregard the safety of others.
Get Legal Help with Dry Reckless / Reckless Driving Charges
The Simmrin Law Group understands how difficult it can be to understand California Vehicle Code Section 23103: Dry Reckless. We offer a FREE initial case evaluation so you can get prompt legal advice about reckless driving. You can learn more about how a dry reckless charge can affect you by calling us at (310) 997- 4688 or filling out our online contact form.