In California, DUIs come with harsh penalties that can alter the course of your life. If you can take a downgraded charge like a wet reckless, you’re more than likely going to be better off. The penalties for a wet reckless will have a lasting impact but are more forgiving than the ones associated with a DUI.
When facing a DUI charge in California, you are entitled to have legal counsel. Having the right lawyer by your side can mean the difference between facing the maximum penalties of a DUI and facing the downgraded penalties of a wet reckless. If you’d like to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer about your case for free, call us today at (310) 862-0199.
A wet reckless is a charge that comes from California Vehicle Code Section 23103. It is not an offense that you can be arrested for. Instead, it exists solely as an option for prosecutors to offer as part of a plea bargain.
If you plead to a wet reckless charge, you’ll face a maximum of:
- $145 in fees (plus additional penalties that may reach $1,000)
- 90 days in jail OR
- Two years on probation
These penalties may seem like a lot. However, they are less severe than the penalties for a DUI.
The exact penalties for a DUI depend on the circumstances surrounding the charge. Aggravating factors can enhance the penalties you face substantially. A first time DUI charge with no aggravating factors (sometimes called a “simple” DUI) has the least severe penalties. These include:
- $390 in fees (plus additional penalties that are likely to reach or exceed $1,000)
- Mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices in all your vehicles (paid for by you)
- Mandatory attendance at a DUI school for at least three months (paid for by you)
- License suspension for six months (which can be served concurrently with the four-month suspension coming from the DMV)
- Up to six months in jail AND
- Three to five years on probation
Given the chance, the prosecution is likely to apply any sentence enhancements to your charges. These sentence enhancements include:
- Refusing a chemical test after you’ve been arrested for a DUI
- Multiple DUI convictions in the past 10 years
- Driving with a passenger under the age of 15
- Excessive speeding
- Reckless driving
- Damage to property
- Injury to another person
Repeat DUI convictions and severe or fatal injuries to other people can raise the level of the charges as well. While a first “simple” DUI is a misdemeanor, a fourth DUI or one that results in a fatality can be charged as a felony.
When Not to Take a Wet Reckless
Any plea bargain is something you should discuss with your lawyer before accepting it. Typically, getting a wet reckless plea deal is something you’ll want to heavily consider. However, there may be some circumstances in which you may not want to opt to take the plea deal.
An initial plea offering from the prosecution is likely to be close to the maximum penalty possible. Getting a wet reckless offer, particularly early on, might be a sign that the prosecution’s case against you is particularly weak.
For example, if you aren’t yet represented by a lawyer and the prosecution offers you a wet reckless charge, you may want to think the offer over before agreeing. You’d want to bring this up when you call (310) 862-0199 to schedule your free initial consultation. It’s a sign that you may be able to beat the charges entirely.
While every situation is unique, you’re likely to be better off taking a wet reckless only if you’re certain you can’t beat the DUI charge. A skilled DUI lawyer will be able to help you assess your chances of succeeding at trial and if you’d be better off accepting a wet reckless plea.
Getting a Wet Reckless Deal
Getting a wet reckless plea deal is likely going to entail showing the prosecution that there’s some chance that they will lose if the case is brought to a trial. A lawyer may be able to help you do this by:
- Pointing out flaws in how the evidence against you was handled
- Showing that the officer didn’t have probable cause to initiate the arrest against you
- Documenting medical history that might explain your chemical test results
- Arguing that the BAC was over legal limit only after you had stopped driving
Getting to the point where the prosecution is willing to offer a plea deal can be difficult. It can be substantially easier with the right lawyer by your side. If you’re ready to see what defense options are available for your DUI case, use the contact form on the side of this page or call (310) 862-0199.