Wet Reckless

Reckless Driving Involving Alcohol
If you've been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, it might be possible to negotiate a wet reckless for you instead of a DUI conviction. As an experienced Sacramento DUI wet reckless defense attorney, I can represent you and attempt to get your charges reduced.

Though you won't find the term wet reckless anywhere in California state law, the concept arises from Vehicle Code Section 23103.5, which provides for a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol.

In negotiating a wet reckless, both the defense and the prosecution see themselves as gaining something. Because of problems with evidence and/or police procedure, prosecutors conclude that a DUI conviction, though possible, is not certain. The district attorney's office is therefore willing to take the reckless driving conviction because the law provides the opportunity to count the wet reckless as a DUI if the defendant is convicted of another DUI in the following ten years.

Wet Reckless v. DUI
A wet reckless, which the defense is willing to consider because of uncertainty about what will happen if the case goes to trial, has advantages and disadvantages.

The potential disadvantages include:
  • If you receive another DUI within 10 years, the wet reckless will be counted as a DUI conviction when determining penalties.
  • A wet reckless conviction can still result in higher automobile insurance rates. 
  • DMV, through its Admin Per Se hearing, can still suspend your driver's license.
However, the potential advantages include:

  • There is no court mandated suspension of the driver's license, something critical to people who need to drive to and from work or as part of their employment.
  • Probation periods tend to be shorter than for a DUI.
  • Jail sentences are usually shorter, or waived altogether, because a wet reckless does not have a minimum required jail term.
  • People with professional licenses (e.g., doctors, pharmacists, lawyers) can avoid disciplinary penalties that their licensing organizations impose for DUI convictions.
  • Fines are often half those for a DUI.
In addition, as of January 1, 2012, a person who gets a wet reckless conviction and has a prior alcohol-related driving conviction can apply for a restricted license after 90 days if he agrees to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on his vehicle. Prior to this change in the law, someone convicted of wet reckless did not have the IID option while someone convicted of DUI did, even though DUI is considered a more serious offense.

The Importance of an Experienced Negotiator
Keep in mind that a wet reckless can be negotiated by your attorney only before a trial commences. There is no such thing as a wet reckless charge when you're arrested. And a judge does not have the option to sentence you to a wet reckless after a DUI trial has concluded. A wet reckless is only available in the negotiation phase between arrest and trial.

With my extensive experience as a wet reckless defense lawyer in Sacramento, I can evaluate your case and determine if a wet reckless is an option. Call me at (916) 442-1200 for a free and confidential consultation.