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Wet Reckless vs DUI


In California, “wet reckless” is the unofficial term used to refer to a form of reduced DUI charge. The most common reasons a DUI will be reduced to a wet reckless include:

  • Your BAC level was close to .08%
  • There are weaknesses in the prosecution's case against you

If you bargain your DUI charges down to a wet reckless, what technically will occur is that you will be convicted of “dry reckless.” However, a dry reckless charge suggests that no alcohol was involved, which is why a wet reckless will note that alcohol and/or drugs were involved in the arrest which resulted in the conviction.

The main advantages of a wet reckless compared to a DUI are the significantly reduced penalties the former offers. For example, a wet reckless is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 90 days, while a DUI carries a maximum jail sentence of six months. Additionally, wet reckless carries a lower minimum jail sentence than DUI for individuals with prior DUI convictions.

When it comes to fines, theoretically, a maximum fine for either wet reckless or DUI is $1,000. Due to court-imposed “penalty assessments,” however, many people convicted of DUI end up paying as much as $3,000 in fines, while fines related to wet reckless are often half or less of what you would pay if convicted of a DUI.

For those worried about losing your driving privileges, wet reckless does not carry any form of license suspension. On the other hand, a first-time DUI conviction can result in a mandatory six-month license suspension, and a year or more for subsequent offenses.

Although there are plenty of benefits, there are some disadvantages as well. For instance, if you get convicted of a subsequent DUI offense within ten years of your wet reckless conviction, the court will treat that conviction as a prior DUI for sentencing purposes.

If you are charged with DUI and considering a plea deal to wet reckless, you must retain experienced legal representation from a skilled criminal defense attorney. At Appel & Morse, we can thoroughly evaluate your case and help you obtain the best results possible.

Contact us and schedule a free criminal consultation to let us protect your rights and future today.

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