Wet Reckless as a Plea Bargain in San Diego
Being arrested and charged with DUI involving alcohol or drugs does not necessarily mean that you have to be convicted or settle for the Charge. The goal at Ross Law Center who is skilled in the area California Drunk Driving Defenses is to try and get your case dismissed. During the investigation and defense strategy stages of your case this can also mean developing and securing a reduced charge with a reduced sentenced commonly referred to as a plea bargain. Plea bargaining will most generally involve negotiating and presenting your case with the prosecutor to get the Vehicle Code 23152(a) and Vehicle Code 23152(b) charges reduced for example to: a) A California “wet reckless” b) A California “dry reckless” c) exhibition of speed d) Penal Code 647(f) drunk or intoxicated in public, e) a combination of traffic infractions. A common misconception by most people is that if a person is arrested for DUI and it is their first offense that the judge or prosecutor will be lenient and offer this as a resolution to a quick disposition. California views DUI as a serious offense and it prosecutes these offenses aggressively and does not look just at the character of the person rather whether or not the person committed the crime and it can be proven in a court of law. Many times a person will play it off as a minor offense until they show up about a month later at their arraignment and learn otherwise. At Ross Law Center one of the most important aspects in defending a DUI is to act quickly and obtain information from the client while it is still “fresh” in their memory. For this reason it is important to call and schedule a free consultation as soon as possible. The following information in this article will provide a better understanding to one of the most commonly reduced California DUI charges known as the California Wet Reckless.
California Wet Reckless VC23103/VC23103.5
A California “wet reckless” is generally the most common step down reduction that the prosecution may offer. The term “wet” in the California Wet Reckless implies that the driver was involved or in actual control of a vehicle involving an alcohol (sometimes even drugs) related driving offense. One unique characteristic of a California wet reckless is that it’s not a charge you can be initially arrested for, it is a charge that is only extended as part of the plea bargaining or settlement phase in place of a DUI. Although there are advantages to a wet reckless in lieu of a DUI, there are some definite drawbacks and these consequences should be thoroughly discussed with your attorney at Ross Law Center. Since each persons case and exposure consequences is different in each case that we handle, the attorneys at Ross Law Center will make sure they take the time to discuss this plea option if it becomes available on your case.
Advantages of a Wet Reckless
Whether the plea bargain to a wet reckless is right for you depends of the circumstances of the particular case and the exposure to individual who is charged. Any person who has been previously convicted for a DUI there is a 10 year “look back” period, meaning your jail sentence and license suspension from the DMV automatically increase. However, a wet reckless conviction entails that there is no minimum mandatory jail time, regardless of how many prior DUI a person has even if those priors are during the look back period. For example if a person was facing a third time California DUI charge in essence he/she could vacate 120 days or more of jail by getting the offense successfully reduced to wet reckless instead of a DUI. Therefore, person’s charged with a DUI who have prior DUI’s tend to see this as one of the most beneficial parts of a wet reckless. In California a DUI charge caries a maximum six-month county jail sentence, and could be increased up to a year for person who is convicted of a second or third offense. A California wet reckless has a maximum sentence of 90 days. This distinction becomes especially important in the event that there is a violation of a condition of probation. If you were to get arrested or break another law while of probation for the wet reckless, the judge may impose a probation violation and sentence you to the county jail as a consequence of breaking probation. But you cannot be incarcerated for a term longer then the max sentence of the offense that you originally plead responsible for in the case a wet reckless. With a wet reckless your jail exposure would only be half of a DUI (and often times much less) of what you’d face had you plead guilty to DUI.
The period that you are subject to probation (usually summery or also known as unsupervised probation) is also reduced. A California DUI typically carries a three to five year probationary period. In San Diego County specifically this term is almost always five years. Probation for a California wet reckless charge usually carries a probation range of only one to three years. There are obvious reasons why a shorter probation period is better; one is because while you’re on active probation it will show up on an employers background check. Secondly, as a general rule you cannot have the charge expunged until the completion of your probation.
In the state of California the max fine for either a DUI or a California Wet Reckless is $1000.00. However, once you add in court-imposed “penalty assessments” many people convicted of a DUI can end up paying as much as $3000.00 not to mention classes and other expenses. For those who plea down to wet reckless the fines imposed with that charge are typically half or even less then that of a California DUI.
No Mandatory DMV suspension of Drivers License
A person who is convicted of a first time DUI will have to endure an automatic license suspension from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Even a first time conviction can result in a one year “hard” suspension if the person refused a chemical test or the person charged with the DUI was under the age of 21. As well, if someone was caught driving on a suspended license could also face possible other criminal charges including jail time and/or probation violation.
A California Wet Reckless conviction triggers no minimum mandatory license suspension. This could be very beneficial to a person if he/she has a prior DUI or they refused to submit to a breath or blood test where the person would be facing a one-year suspension of his/her driving privileges. It should be noted however that a person could still receive a license suspension if he/she loses the DMV hearing that was requested within the first 10 days from the date of the arrest. Therefore, you must get both the DUI charge reduced in court and prevail at the DMV in order for there to be no interruption of your driving privileges in California.
A first conviction of wet reckless may (But doesn’t necessarily) include the completion of a six-week alcohol education program, whereas in comparison to a DUI conviction the person is required to complete a minimum of a 12 week alcohol program. Under new 2009 legislation, if you are found responsible of a “wet reckless” and you have a prior “wet” or DUI conviction within the last 10 years then you will be required to attend a nine-month program. In comparison if you were found responsible for a second or subsequent DUI, it would have resulted in an alcohol program ranging from 18 to 30 months of classes.
Additionally, a wet reckless conviction may not have the same adversely effect on certain types of professional drivers licenses or commercial driver’s license that a DUI conviction would have.
Negative of a Wet Reckless
There are some drawbacks to a wet reckless, which is why its very important to carefully review all angles of a plea offer with an experienced DUI lawyer. One drawback is that if you are arrested and charged within 10 years from the conviction of your wet reckless your new DUI charge will count as your second offense. The court will treat the wet reckless as a prior DUI and will prosecute accordingly. Although a wet reckless disposition may not automatically trigger a license suspension the California Department of Motor Vehicle will still impose a suspension if you BAC was over .08% or you lose your DMV hearing. As well, depending on your insurance company they may still raise your premiums or in some cases cancel your policy the same as if you were convicted of DUI.
Call Ross Law Center
Being charged with a DUI can be an emotional and stressful time in a person’s life, especially if you depend on your driver’s license to carry out your daily routine like driving to and from work, or you depend on your license to support yourself and family. At Ross Law Center our experienced team will discuss your case and keep you informed of all the options and strategies that are available to give the best result as possible. We invite you to come in or discuss your case by phone to learn more about how Ross Law Center can help you.