Pleading to a “wet reckless” to avoid a felony DUI

Getting arrested for a DUI can be terrifying, especially for someone who is facing felony charges. There is, however, another option for certain offenders.

First-time offenders may be able to enter a DUI plea bargain involving a reduction of the DUI charge to a reckless driving charge, especially if the individual’s breath alcohol concentration level (BAC) was low and the incident did not involve injuries or property damage. This type of plea deal is commonly referred to as a “wet reckless.

California’s Vehicle Code states reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense involving unsafe driving conduct. When alcohol is involved, it becomes a factor during the sentencing phase, thus the term “wet reckless.”

There are a couple of critical differences between a DUI and a wet reckless. First, a reckless driving conviction is not a DUI. It, therefore, does not automatically result in driver’s license suspension or mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (IID) vehicle installation, which is almost always the case in DUI convictions.

Secondly, a reckless driving conviction will not appear as a DUI conviction on criminal background checks performed by employers or licensing agencies. This can be an essential distinction, especially for defendants who are licensed professionals, as a DUI conviction can affect their livelihoods.

Other advantages of a wet reckless include:

  • Shorter potential jail sentence and lower fines
  • A shorter period of probation (typically less than two years)
  • No DUI on the driver’s criminal record

Disadvantages of a wet reckless include:

  • A reckless driving conviction is treated as a prior offense, which means any later DUI conviction is treated as a second offense
  • A conviction typically requires individuals to take part in an alcohol and drug awareness program as a condition of probation
  • There is an increased likelihood of higher insurance premiums or even insurance cancellation as the result of the  conviction
  • An addition of two points will be added to the driver’s California DMV driving record

If you are facing a DUI charge, call Strategic Law Command in Roseville, California at 916-787-1234 or contact us online to set up a consultation. With over 20 years of combined experience as both prosecutors and defense attorneys, we have encountered nearly every type of criminal charge. Our criminal defense services cover a wide range of charges, from DUIs and violent crimes to white collar crimes.