What Is a Wet and Reckless in California?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in California, and the consequences can be severe. However, there is a lesser-known charge that is sometimes offered as an alternative to a traditional DUI charge called a “wet and reckless.” In this article, we will explore what a wet and reckless charge entails, the differences between a wet and reckless and a DUI, and answer some frequently asked questions about this charge.
A wet and reckless charge is a specific type of reckless driving charge that involves alcohol or drugs. It is often offered as a plea bargain in DUI cases, especially if the prosecution’s case is weak or there are mitigating circumstances. While a wet and reckless charge is considered a lesser offense than a DUI, it still carries serious penalties and should not be taken lightly.
One of the main differences between a wet and reckless and a DUI charge is the level of impairment. To be charged with a DUI, the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must be above the legal limit of 0.08%. In contrast, a wet and reckless charge does not require a specific BAC level. It is typically used when the driver’s BAC is close to the legal limit or if there is evidence of impaired driving, but not enough to meet the criteria for a DUI charge.
Another difference is the potential penalties. A wet and reckless charge carries lighter penalties compared to a DUI. For a first-time wet and reckless offense, the penalties may include probation, fines, mandatory alcohol education classes, and potential license suspension. However, a wet and reckless charge does not typically result in mandatory jail time, as is often the case with a DUI. Subsequent wet and reckless offenses, however, can result in more severe penalties, including increased fines, longer license suspensions, and possible jail time.
It is important to note that a wet and reckless charge still counts as a prior offense if you are charged with a DUI in the future. This means that if you are arrested for DUI within ten years of a wet and reckless conviction, the wet and reckless charge will be treated as a prior DUI offense, and the penalties for the DUI will be enhanced.
Now, let’s address some frequently asked questions about wet and reckless charges:
Q: Can I refuse a wet and reckless plea bargain and go to trial?
A: Yes, you have the right to refuse a wet and reckless plea bargain and choose to go to trial. However, it is essential to consult with a DUI attorney to evaluate the strength of your case and determine the best course of action.
Q: How long does a wet and reckless stay on my driving record?
A: A wet and reckless conviction will typically stay on your driving record for ten years. However, it is important to note that insurance companies may still consider it when determining your insurance rates.
Q: Can I get my wet and reckless charge expunged?
A: Yes, in some cases, it may be possible to get a wet and reckless charge expunged from your record. However, eligibility for expungement and the process involved can vary, so it is advisable to consult with a DUI attorney to explore your options.
Q: Will a wet and reckless charge affect my auto insurance rates?
A: While a wet and reckless charge is considered a lesser offense than a DUI, it can still impact your auto insurance rates. Insurance companies may view a wet and reckless charge as an indication of risky behavior and may increase your premiums accordingly.
In conclusion, a wet and reckless charge is a specific type of reckless driving charge that involves alcohol or drugs. It is often offered as an alternative to a DUI charge and carries lighter penalties. However, it is essential to remember that it still counts as a prior offense if charged with a DUI in the future. If you find yourself facing a wet and reckless charge, it is crucial to consult with a DUI attorney to understand your rights and explore the best course of action.