California “Wet Reckless” – (Vehicle Code 23103, per 23103.5 Vehicle Code)

Being charged in California with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs doesn’t always lead to a conviction, especially when a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is working on behalf of the offender.

By teaming up with a criminal defense attorney, an offender may be able to obtain a reduced sentence or have the charges completely dismissed. A criminal defense lawyer will attempt to reach a California driving under the influence plea bargain, by using his or her knowledge of California Vehicle Code 23103, per 23103.5 Vehicle Code. Often, a driving under the influence charge in California may be reduced to the California “wet reckless.” In fact, the California “wet reckless” conviction is the most common charge reduction option for someone who has been charged with driving under the influence.

Defining the California “wet reckless”

In California, the “wet reckless” charge still acknowledges that the individual is guilty of a driving offense while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is the first reduction charge for driving under the influence typically offered by the prosecutor. If one has been charged with driving under the influence, and is in violation of California’s Vehicle Code 23103, per 23103.5, he or she can seek the charge of “wet reckless” to avoid jail time and settle the driving under the influence charge.

The benefits of the “wet reckless” conviction

The following could be considered advantage to the “wet reckless” conviction in California:

  • No sentencing enhancements for repeat offenders

This means that an individual would not have to serve a longer jail sentence or have his or her license suspended for a longer period of time if convicted for driving under the influence during the next decade in California. If someone has not obtained the “wet reckless” conviction and gets charged a second time for driving under the influence, he or she would be sent to jail for about four days, for example. However, a “wet reckless” conviction in California equals no jail time, even if the individual had prior driving under the influence convictions. A California criminal defense lawyers understands the “wet reckless” conviction is most beneficial to someone who has been charged a second time, or even a third time, for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • Shorter sentence to jail –

If someone is convicted of driving under the influence in California, he or she would spend up to six months in a county jail and up to a year if it is a second driving under the influence charge. However, a “wet reckless” agreement allows the offender to spend no more than 90 days in jail.

This means, someone who gets a “wet reckless” conviction will spend at least half the time in jail than someone convicted of a driving under the influence charge in California.

  • Shorter probation period –

If someone is convicted of driving under the influence in California, he or she could be put on probation for a length period of time – up to five years. However, when someone is given a “wet reckless” conviction, he or she typically only spends up to 24 months on probation. This especially is beneficial to someone who is seeking employment.

  • Lesser fines –

The fines for someone who achieves the “wet reckless” conviction are typically half of what they would be if that person is charged with driving under the influence in California. Commonly, someone convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in California is ordered to pay fines costing up to $3,000.

  • No mandatory license suspension –

The license of someone with a “wet reckless” conviction typically is not suspended. However, someone convicted of driving under the influence in California often has his or her license suspended for six months for a first time offense; two years for a second offense; and three years for a third offense. Additionally, a “wet reckless” conviction may not adversely affect certain professional licenses or commercial driver’s licenses as would a driving under the influence conviction.

  • Shorter DUI school –

When a person is convicted in California of driving under the influence, he or she is ordered to attend a driving under the influence educational program for at least three months. However, if someone is given a “wet reckless” conviction, he or she may or may not be ordered to attend driving under the influence school. If someone with a “wet reckless” conviction is ordered to attend an education program, it is only for a six week time period.

Disadvantages to a “wet reckless”

It is important for someone wishing to obtain a “wet reckless” conviction in California to understand, he or she still could be punished the same as someone who is convicted of driving under the influence. This means that the following punishments still could be handed down:

 

  • The “wet reckless” will still count as a prior conviction

 

This means that someone found guilty of a second driving under the influence charge in California, within 10 years of the “wet reckless” conviction, would be treated guilty of a second driving under the influence conviction. The person would then be considered a repeat offender.

  • The offender could still lose his or her license

Even though a “wet reckless” conviction does not lead to a license suspension, the California Department of Motor Vehicles still has the ability to take away a person’s license if he or she had a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08 percent or above; or if the person loses a Department of Motor Vehicles’ hearing.

  • An insurance company could treat a “wet reckless” like a driving under the influence

It is up to one’s insurance company to decide if it is appropriate to cancel someone’s insurance policy if he or she was charged with driving under the influence, whether the individual was convicted of driving under the influence or a “wet reckless.”

When is a “wet reckless” offered in California

California’s Vehicle Code 23103, per 23103.5 Vehicle Code, allows a driving under the influence charge to be reduced to a “wet reckless” charge by a prosecutor. The “wet reckless” typically is offered by the prosecutor, in accordance with the law, when:

  1. the offender’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is close to 0.08 percent, or
  2. Weaknesses exist in the case against the offender, so
  3. he or she (the prosecutor) would rather bestow a “wet reckless” conviction than lose at trial.

A “wet reckless” is not automatically offered to someone who may “qualify” for it, however. If an individual is facing a driving under the influence charge in California, it is important to team up with an aggressive criminal defense attorney, who has a successful record when it comes to defending individuals who have face driving under the influence charges. On behalf of his or her client, the defense attorney will seek to bargain with the prosecution to obtain the “wet reckless” conviction.