What is a Wet Reckless?
It is a way for the prosecution and defense to resolve DUIs with lower BACs or cases with potential proof problems. It is a way to resolve a DUI without the expense or uncertainty of trial. It is a negotiated disposition or plea bargain to a lesser charge.
It isn’t something that you can be charged with though, so don’t look for it and be disappointed if you don’t see CA VC§23103.5 on the criminal complaint or the paperwork you get from the jail when you are released.
Is there anything better than a Wet Reckless?
Except for the obvious best case scenario of a dismissal, in some instances it may be possible to negotiate a Dry Reckless under CA VC§23103. The biggest benefit of a Dry Reckless is that it doesn’t count as a prior DUI. It is still, however, a 2 point offense on your DMV record.
Does a Wet Reckless conviction cause a driver’s license suspension?
Unless you are under 21, the Wet Reckless conviction will not cause a separate DMV suspension. Caveat: If you fail to request or you lose an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing, DMV will suspend your license administratively.
How can I avoid an APS suspension of my driver’s license?
If you contact DMV Driver Safety within 10 days of the date of your arrest and win the APS hearing, there will be no APS suspension. Another way of avoiding a license suspension from an APS hearing is by getting the DA and Court to go along with a Helmandollar Motion. This is effectively an acquittal of driving with a BAC of .08 or more. Whether this is possible depends on local practices.
If you win the APS hearing but plead to a regular DUI, the only benefit might be avoiding a period of hard suspension time. If you are arrested for a DUI on or after 1/1/2019, you may be able to avoid any hard suspension time because of SB-1046 anyway.
How do the penalties differ from a regular DUI?
The maximum sentence for a Wet Reckless is 90 days of time and $1000, plus penalty assessments. The maximum sentence for a first offense DUI is 180 days of time and $1000, plus penalty assessments. In some counties the length of probation may be shorter. In reality, it would be rare that anyone would be punished with the maximum sentence possible. The more normal disposition for a Wet Reckless would be probation, no time, fines and a 6 week DUI program. A standard DUI would be probation, 2 days or more of time, fines and at least a 3 month DUI school.
Will a Wet Reckless require mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in the pilot counties of Sacramento, Alameda, Los Angeles or Tulare?
A Wet Reckless doesn’t cause the mandatory requirement of an IID. The Pilot Program under AB91 will expire on 1/1/2019 anyway.
Are there any other benefits to a Wet Reckless compared to a DUI conviction?
The Wet Reckless conviction doesn’t cause a mandatory suspension of a Commercial License and may make a difference if you hold a Professional License.