In lieu of the more serious DUI penalty, if you are arrested for DUI but the prosecutor doesn’t have a good case against you, you can be given a “wet reckless” charge. But do you take it and enter a guilty plea or do you go to court to contest the DUI charge?
Although the immediate repercussions of pleading guilty to a wet reckless charge may not be as severe as those of a DUI conviction, it can nevertheless significantly negatively affect your life. You should make this choice with the aid of Dan Chambers of the Chambers Law Firm, who is an authority in California DUI law.
Wet reckless plea
In California, a “wet reckless” plea carries less severe punishments than a DUI (driving while intoxicated) conviction. Perhaps it sounds like you were just driving carelessly, but because alcohol (or drugs) were involved, it was “wet.” However, it won’t mislead your insurance provider because a reckless driving charge is still taken seriously. Two points will be added to your driving record for a wet reckless, and your insurance premium will probably go up, just like it would if you were found guilty of DUI.
Additionally, the wet reckless plea will be treated the same as a DUI if you are later arrested for DUI, meaning that you will face a higher penalty due to your prior convictions.
A “dry reckless” charge is a misdemeanor, but the punishment is less severe, since it suggests that neither alcohol nor drugs were used. If you are arrested for a DUI in the future, your previous DUI arrest will not count as a prior offense, and you will still earn two points on your driving record.
Taking a wet reckless plea has advantages
Your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for six months if you receive a DUI, and you may also receive a jail sentence. There is no mandatory license suspension or jail time with a wet reckless plea. Instead of a fine of up to $3000, the maximum punishment is $1000. The DUI education course that is mandated is shorter. Instead of being from three to five years, the probationary term is just up to two years.
Who may enter a guilty plea to wet recklessness?
The prosecuting attorney will assess whether they have a strong case against you based on the details of your specific DUI arrest. If the evidence is weak, the charges might be dropped or changed to a lesser offense, like wet or dry recklessness.
If your blood alcohol level was pretty close to the .08% limit, you didn’t cause an accident, and you don’t have a history of drunk driving, the prosecution might think about accepting your wet reckless plea. Or there could be another issue with your case, such as a concern about the accuracy of the blood test.
If the prosecution offers you a wet reckless plea, it can mean that they are aware of the shortcomings in their case against you and would want to avoid losing in court. Contact us right now to schedule a free consultation with Dan Chambers, an accomplished California DUI lawyer, to go over the advantages and disadvantages of your particular case. Call 714-760-4088, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.