California motorists stopped and eventually found to be driving while under the influence of alcohol face many serious consequences. Drivers in California who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be charged under California Vehicle Code § 23152(a) VC (driving while under the influence of alcohol), violating California Vehicle Code § 23152(b) VC (driving with a BAC of .08 or higher), and California Vehicle Code § 23152(f) VC (driving under the influence of drugs). An experienced criminal defense attorney such as John P. Dolan may help any California motorist gain an acquittal or have his or her criminal DUI charges greatly reduced.

Defendants who plead guilty or no contest as part of a plea bargain or agreement may have a more serious DUI charge reduced to a less serious charge of a “wet reckless.” In truth, this informal name is a charge under California Vehicle Code § 23103 for reckless driving. A typical charge not involving alcohol or drugs under this statute would be considered a “dry reckless.”

Wet reckless is the informal name given to a crime that a person charged with DUI pleads guilty or no contest to as part of a plea agreement. The prosecutor agrees to drop the more serious DUI charge in exchange for the defendant pleading to the less serious wet reckless charge.

A charge of “wet reckless” occurs after a defendant charged with DUI executes a Tahl waiver and plea agreement related to the charges. The difference between a wet and dry reckless is that a wet reckless includes a note on the defendant’s criminal record that the offense involved alcohol and/or drug use.

Lower fines, shorter jail sentences, shorter probation periods, and shorter DUI program periods are all benefits of a “wet reckless.” Also, there is no mandatory court-ordered driver’s license suspension although the DMV may still suspend the defendant’s driver’s license or require him or her to drive with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in the vehicle.

Perhaps most importantly, a wet reckless conviction prevents a DUI from appearing on the defendant’s criminal record. However, a “wet reckless” conviction does count as a “priorable” offense, which means another conviction for DUI within the next 10 years will cause the State of California to consider him or her a repeat offender, who faces increased penalties for a second or third-time DUI.

If a defendant makes a plea bargain for a wet reckless, there is the likelihood that the defendant’s car insurance company will increase premiums or cancel the driver’s policy as it would for a DUI. Also, the defendant will still have to address the “administrative per se” (APS) hearing at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) triggered by the DUI arrest, regardless of the plea agreement. Nevertheless, the reduction of a potential DUI charge to a wet reckless is a preferable alternative for any California motorist.

John Patrick Dolan has represented California motorists charged with DUI for over 40 years. He is a recognized California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and a true courtroom veteran of DUI cases. Call the Dolan Law Offices today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here.

Consequences Of A "Wet" Plea Bargain