Many people that are charged with a Long Beach DUI, often hear from their friends or family to take a “wet reckless” deal. There is often insufficient or incorrect information available about what a “wet reckless” means. When you are charged with a DUI, your Long Beach DUI attorney may be able to negotiate with the Long Beach City Prosecutor or Los Angeles County District Attorney to dismiss the DUI. In exchange for the dismissal, you will enter a plea to a lesser charge.
The lesser charge known as a “wet reckless” is a charge of California Vehicle Code 23103. This particular charge is stating that you were driving recklessly. California Vehicle Code 23103.5 then requires the prosecutor to make a statement on the record that sets forth the facts that show whether or not there was a consumption of an alcoholic beverage or the ingestion or administration of a drug by the driver in connection with the reckless driving.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Wet Reckless
It seems obvious to say, but there are definitely advantages to taking a non-DUI plea in exchange for a dismissal of the DUI charge. Accepting less severe penalties is the first advantage. A “wet reckless” charge carries lower fines, less time on probation, and less jail time exposure. The next advantage to a “wet reckless” plea is how it affects your driver’s license. A “wet reckless” conviction does not result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. A conviction of a DUI results in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license, without further hearing. Let us examine some of these advantages in more detail.
Less Jail Time Exposure
The potential sentence for a “wet reckless” charge is a maximum county jail sentence of ninety days. The maximum county jail sentence for a First Offense DUI is six months. The maximum county jail sentence increases for each subsequent DUI offense. There is then a clear advantage to accepting a “wet reckless” charge over a DUI if you are faced with exposure to ninety days versus six months. “Exposure” means the potential sentence you are facing, not what you will, in fact, be sentenced to.
The potential sentence you are facing also affects your probationary period after conviction. This means, that if you are placed on probation as part of your “wet reckless” conviction, you are still only facing ninety-day county jail time if you violate your probation. This is because a punishment for a probation violation is limited by the time you would have been exposed to in the underlying charge.
Even when you are dealing with a Second Offense DUI which is then reduced to a wet reckless, you may still be exposed to less jail time. Under California law, a Second Offense DUI requires a minimum sentence of ninety days in county jail. A Third Offense DUI requires imposition of a minimum county jail sentence of one-hundred-twenty days. However, the minimum county jail sentence of a wet reckless is no more than five days.
Therefore, obtaining a wet reckless plea deal significantly affects the time you may be facing in jail. To many, this is crucial because of the effect on your livelihood and quality of life.
Reduced Probation Time
A DUI charge in California carries with it a three to five-year period of probation. Los Angeles County prosecutors will typically seek the higher end period for probation. However, a wet reckless charge in California carries with it only a one to three year probationary period. If this is your first charge, a prosecutor will likely agree to a one year probation period. This is of most benefit to individuals concerned about employment background checks. Many background checks will review if an individual is currently on probation. With a one year probation, an individual knows that a job change or career change will have to take place in one year, as opposed to several years.
The shorter probation period is a factor in removing the charge from an individual’s record altogether. An expungement of the wet reckless charge is not available until the probation period is completed.
Under California law the judge is required to impose a fine of a maximum amount of one-thousand dollars in both a DUI and wet reckless conviction. Despite this shared maximum, a wet reckless charge will still carry a fine less than that of a DUI. In any criminal conviction, the judge is required to impose additional “penalty assessments” on the sentence. Therefore, the total fine and assessments for a DUI conviction can easily accumulate to three-thousand dollars. However, a wet reckless sentence will carry a common fine and assessment amount of only one-thousand five hundred dollars.
License Suspension is Not Mandatory
The Department of Motor Vehicles requires a license suspension once a licensee is convicted of a DUI in California. Typically, this automatic license suspension lasts for six months. However, if the licensee refused a chemical blood alcohol test or if he or she was under twenty-one-years of ages, the Department of Motor Vehicles will extend the suspension to one year. If the individual is convicted of both a DUI and driving on a suspended license, the DMV will impose additional penalties beyond the court sentencing terms.
In contrast, a wet reckless conviction in California does not have a required suspension of the driver’s license according to the Department of Motor Vehicle’s regulations. Even when a licensee refuses the chemical blood test. Although the license suspension is not automatic, the licensee will be entitled to a hearing to determine the status of the license is the blood alcohol level was over a 0.08%.
Less Time In DUI School
If an offender is convicted of a First Offense DUI in California, he or she must complete a twelve-week alcohol education class as part of the terms of his or her sentence. If an offender is convicted of a wet reckless in California, the class time if only six-weeks, if the program is even imposed as a part of sentencing. On a Second Offense wet reckless (or where there is a prior DUI) the alcohol program required is nine months in length. However, when convicted of a Second Offense DUI, the alcohol program is between eighteen and thirty months.
Now that you may be thoroughly convinced to negotiate for a wet reckless plea in your DUI case, let us examine the potential disadvantages to doing so. It is always important to remember that your case is unique, and each advantage and disadvantage should be taken into consideration when making any plea deal consideration.
It is important to understand that a “wet reckless” is not always an advantage in your case. There are disadvantages to this lesser charge in certain circumstances. The first disadvantage is that car insurance premiums will certainly rise. The next disadvantage is that a “wet reckless” can be alleged as a “prior DUI offense” should you be charged with another DUI in the future. Alleging a “wet reckless” conviction as a “prior DUI offense” enhances sentencing for the subsequent DUI charge. However, it is important to understand that the Court will revoke the offender’s probation for the failure to enroll in, participate in, or complete an alcohol program.
The Effect On Your Insurance
Insurance agencies and providers may not differentiate a wet reckless from a DUI in their internal policies. Therefore, conviction of a wet reckless will probably still result in an increase in your insurance premiums. Some insurance agencies may terminate your insurance due to your alcohol related conviction. This is known as denying coverage under the policy as it stands. Once the driver attempts to apply to a new insurance company, he or she may not be able to obtain comparable insurance coverage at the same rate as before the alcohol related conviction.
There May Still Be an Effect on Your License
This was mentioned earlier, and is important to acknowledge it again. There may not be an automatic license suspension, but there is still a possibility of a license suspension through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The Department of Motor Vehicles will order you to attend an administrative hearing if your blood alcohol content was 0.08% or more. If you lose that hearing, your driver’s license will be suspended. There are several factors that go into whether the Department of Motor Vehicles can in fact suspend your license. Therefore, it is critically important to hire a Long Beach DUI defense attorney who will also represent you in an administrative hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
There Will Be A Sentencing Effect on Any Subsequent Alcohol Related Charges
California law allows a county or city prosecutor to take prior DUI convictions into account in charges and sentencing allegations. The limitation on these sentencing enhancements is that the conviction must have occurred within the prior ten years. Unfortunately, a prior wet reckless conviction within the prior ten year period will be treated as a DUI conviction in a subsequent DUI conviction to enhance the sentence.
Clearly, there are unique considerations for each Long Beach DUI case. You must consult with a Long Beach DUI attorney to determine the most advantageous defense for your case. A “wet reckless” plea may or may not be the best outcome for your situation. Attorney David Givot has aggressively and zealously defendant DUI clients throughout Los Angeles County. If you need an experienced Long Beach DUI attorney, he is the one to contact. Call 562-206-2012 for your free DUI consultation.
How to Reduce a DUI Charge to a Wet Reckless Charge
Once you, and your experienced Long Beach DUI attorney have come to an agreement that your case is appropriate for a wet reckless reduction, you both need to work to obtain that plea deal. A judge cannot change your sentence. You must first have an offer from the prosecutor on your case. This means that the Long Beach City Prosecutor or the Los Angeles County Prosecutor is comfortable with allowing you to be sentenced on the lesser charge.
Your experienced Long Beach DUI attorney will need to find a weakness in the prosecution’s case and bring this to the attention of the prosecutor. It is additionally helpful when you have no prior criminal history. The most common contributing factor to convincing a prosecutor to offer a reduction in charges is a low blood alcohol content. Sometimes an experienced Long Beach DUI attorney can even utilize your respectful behavior during the arrest and life of the case, to convince a prosecutor to reduce the charges.
The Long Beach DUI Defense Attorney for You
In any criminal case, the defendant has a right to a defense. Therefore, if you have been arrested and charged with a Long Beach offense involving alcohol and drugs, you should retain a knowledgeable and experienced defense attorney. Whether it is a DUI, boating under the influence, or any other similar charge, the Law Offices of David J. Givot have the reputation of building a strong defense with the aim of getting the case dismissed. Your attorney will go through each and every one of these factors in this article with you to determine if a plea bargain is right for you. Having an attorney from the Law Offices of David J. Givot on your side will increase your chances of getting your case dismissed or obtaining reduced charges such as a wet reckless. The Long Beach DUI attorneys will be aggressive in their representation and keep you involved throughout the entire process.
At the Law Offices of David J. Givot we also understand the importance of a driver’s license. For this reason, Department of Motor Vehicles representation is also included when you retain the Long Beach DUI attorneys. The attorneys understand that your driver’s license is essential to your and your family’s livelihood. The legal team will also prepare and defend your license in the administrative hearing.
Request your free consultation today by calling 562-206-2012.