As with all criminal cases, it depends on the facts of the case. No two cases have the same exact set of facts. But, the information below may be helpful in giving you an idea of whether or not your case will be easy for the prosecution to prove. If not, there's a good chance our DUI Lawyer could get you a plea deal for a reduced charge.
Wet reckless (often called “wet and reckless”) is the informal name given to a crime that a person charged with DUI pleads guilty or no contest to as part of a plea agreement. The prosecutor agrees to drop the more serious DUI charge in exchange for the defendant pleading to the less serious wet reckless charge. Although similar to a DUI, it has much less serious penalties, and reducing your charge to a wet reckless can make it easier to put your life together and move on.
“Wet reckless” is simply a nickname for a charge of reckless driving, Vehicle Code 23103, that results from a Tahl waiver and plea bargain to charges of driving under the influence, and includes a note on the defendant’s criminal record that the offense involved alcohol and/or drug use. This last factor is what makes a “wet” conviction different from a so-called “dry reckless” – which is another plea bargain to DUI charges. A dry reckless does NOT include a note referencing the involvement of alcohol and/or drugs.
Like all plea bargains, you can only get a wet reckless deal if the prosecutor agrees to it. You have to negotiate with them, usually by having a good DUI lawyer represent you. Prosecutors have to have a reason to offer a deal—otherwise they will just push for a full DUI conviction in court. But prosecutors are busy and only want to pursue winning cases. if you can show the prosecutor that it would be hard to convict you, or that it isn’t worth their time, a wet reckless is one of the most common plea deals you can be offered.
In general, you are most likely to get a wet reckless offer if you have a DUI lawyer and at least one of the following things is true:
Your chance of getting a wet reckless deal is much lower if you have a previous DUI on your record. However, it does happen, and if you can get one, the benefits to you are huge. This is because a second-time DUI has much higher penalties than a first. But a wet reckless doesn’t count as a “second” DUI, so none of the extra penalties are thrown at you. It’s a great deal that can dramatically change your case.
In general, repeat DUI drivers will only get a wet reckless if they have a DUI lawyer and the case against them is weak.
The best way is to have a DUI lawyer represent you. Prosecutors know that defendants without lawyers are unlikely to win at court. Most defendants don’t have the training to suppress evidence, question breathalyzer results, or take any other steps that would help strengthen their case. As a result, defendants without lawyers get plea “bargains” that often aren’t bargains at all.
A DUI lawyer can tell you if your case is likely to qualify for a wet reckless plea deal. Then they can investigate the evidence against you and find its weaknesses. Once they have built a case, they will have the leverage they need to demand a deal from the prosecutor.
While a California wet reckless is a highly favorable plea bargain for qualified DUI defendants, not everyone will be entitled to one. Generally, prosecutors are more inclined to a reduce a DUI down to a wet reckless under Vehicle Code 23103 and 23103.5 VC when one of the following occurs: the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was close to .08%, or there are holes in the prosecution’s case against the DUI defendant.
Obviously, the goal of any defense lawyer is to get the client's charges dismissed, but if the evidence makes this is impossible, the attorney strives to get the prosecutor to agree to a wet reckless instead of a DUI, which has many advantages.