A DUI charge is serious because of the penalties you will likely receive upon conviction. In addition to spending time behind bars and paying a hefty court fine, you could lose your driver's license to suspension or revocation and face mandatory drug or substance use treatment. It also leaves you with a damaging criminal record that will continue to haunt you even after serving your sentence. But you can avoid those severe consequences if you plead with the prosecutor for leniency in your charges. A prosecutor can reduce your DUI to Wet Reckless if mitigating factors allow for sentence reduction.

But before the prosecutor reduces your DUI to Wet Reckless, you must satisfy specific requirements set by the judge. You need legal counsel, guidance, and assistance to ensure your plea bargain succeeds. An experienced DUI attorney will study the details of your case to advise you on your options and help you through all the legal processes involved. Our Monterey Criminal Attorney team has successfully bargained many DUI cases to wet reckless in the past. We believe we have the skills and experience you need to obtain a fair outcome for your case after a DUI arrest in Monterey.

What a Charge for Wet Reckless Entail

When you are arrested for a DUI and plead not guilty or no contest in the first arraignment, you will likely undergo a jury trial. The judge delivers the final verdict on your case based on the evidence and statements presented by the prosecution and defense teams. A guilty verdict for a DUI case will likely result in hefty penalties, including incarceration, court fines, and severe administrative consequences, including losing your driving privilege. Your punishment is subject to sentence enhancement if you have a prior criminal record or there are aggravating circumstances (like death or significant bodily injury).

Understanding your options after arrest can help you avoid the severe consequences of a conviction. If the prosecutor has compelling evidence against you, the jury will likely find you guilty of your charges. Taking advantage of other options that could result in less severe consequences, like a plea bargain, is advisable. A plea bargain involves negotiating with the district attorney to allow you to plead guilty to a lesser charge instead of going to trial for a DUI charge. Prosecutors are always willing to accept a plea bargain, provided that you are eager to accept the consequences of your actions.

Working closely with a skilled criminal attorney is beneficial when negotiating plea bargains. Experienced attorneys understand what plea bargains have to offer. Thus, your attorney will advise you on your options after studying the details of your case and considering the evidence against you. They can also negotiate for a lesser charge with the prosecutor on your behalf to improve your chances of success. Note that criminal defense works with judges and prosecutors throughout. It is easier for them to negotiate, especially if they have interacted with the prosecutor.

A charge for wet recklessness as a plea bargain is under VC 23103.5. This statute allows prosecutors and defense attorneys to settle for wet recklessness in the event of a successful negotiation on behalf of a DUI defendant. The talks will be successful once you and the DA agree to the conditions of the proposed changes. For example, the DA will require you to plead guilty to wet recklessness before a judge and accept all the penalties the judge will pass for wet recklessness.

Additionally, the law requires the district attorney to inform the judge of the agreement between them and the defendant and obtain the court's approval. Thus, the plea bargain is valid once the court acknowledges and approves it. However, remember that judges have the final say in criminal matters. The judge can accept or reject the plea bargain, depending on the particulars of your case and your criminal history.

Once the judge approves the bargain, you must plead guilty to wet reckless in a court proceeding. Then, the judge will give you the penalties you deserve for a conviction for wet recklessness.

A charge for wet recklessness under VC 23103.5 is usually a charge reduction from DUI charges under VC 23153(a) and VC 23153(b). Wet reckless means that you acted recklessly when you operated a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Thus, you will face the consequences of your actions even after pleading guilty to a lesser offense. Wet recklessness can also arise when you act recklessly while operating a vehicle on a public road.

Note: You cannot face arrest for Wet Reckless; it is a name used for reckless driving. Prosecutors only use the charge in plea bargains to reduce a defendant's charge from a more severe DUI charge to a lesser charge. The charge is helpful in the following circumstances:

  • As a result of a plea bargain for a DUI charge.
  • To indicate that there was drug and/or alcohol use in your case.

Difference Between Wet and Dry Reckless Charges

Dry Reckless and Wet Reckless are very different under the law. The main difference is whether or not there were drugs or alcohol involved in the case. Wet Reckless indicates the use of drugs and/or alcohol by the defendant at the time of the offense. Dry Reckless suggests the absence of alcohol or drugs.

A dry reckless is another name for a reckless driving charge under VC 23103. It can also work as a plea bargain for DUI, but it does not indicate your driving was reckless.

The other difference between the two charges is that prior convictions for wet recklessness count toward subsequent convictions. If you have a previous conviction for wet recklessness within ten years, your penalties for the subsequent wet reckless offense will attract heftier fines.

Is The Plea Bargain Good For You?

The prosecutor or your defense attorney can initiate a plea bargain. It all depends on the circumstances of your case and your criminal history. If the prosecutor has insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, they can propose a plea deal. But your attorney can initiate the bargain if they fear a jury trial will find you guilty of a more severe offense. The most important part of this process is determining whether the plea bargain is good for you. A skilled attorney will break it down for you and discuss all your other options to help you make the best decision regarding your case.

If the prosecutor proposes a wet reckless plea deal before trial, you must first discuss it with your attorney. Some charge reductions present favorable outcomes for defendants, while others do not help much. For example, if you have had prior reckless convictions within ten years, a charge reduction on your current DUI charge could result in heftier penalties than a DUI conviction. Remember that wet reckless is a priorable crime. A prior conviction within ten years will likely increase your penalties. That is why you should take time after the prosecutor makes the offer to understand whether or not the charge reduction will benefit your case.

If your attorney proposes a charge reduction, you must also take time to determine your eligibility for a plea deal. The last thing you want is to raise your hopes with a charge reduction only for the judge to deny the agreement. Here are some of the factors the judge considers in accepting or declining wet reckless plea deals:

Your BAC During Arrest

In all DUI cases, it matters to the judge how high your BAC was during arrest. The standard BAC allowed for adult drivers in California is 0.08%. A higher BAC than that will result in DUI charges. An extremely high BAC can result in additional charges for gross violations of DUI laws. A gross violation will make it hard for the judge to accept your plea deal. Prosecutors are aware of aggravating factors that could cause the judge to deny a plea deal. Thus, the prosecutor will not offer or accept your plea bargain if these aggravating factors exist in your case.

However, an aggressive criminal attorney can fight your BAC results to increase your chances of qualifying for a plea deal.

Inconsistency/Lack of Credibility in a Prosecutor's Case

In criminal cases, the prosecutor bears the burden of proof. They must demonstrate all elements of an offense. That is a significant challenge for many prosecutors, especially when they lack sufficient evidence to support a case. While proving the facts of a DUI seems attainable, an aggressive criminal attorney can create hardships for the prosecutor during the trial.

Prosecutors only want to bring cases to trial if they are 100% sure of winning. If there is a chance that the judge will throw the case out due to insufficient evidence or inconsistency, the prosecutor can offer you a plea deal. The most important thing is for them to close the case and for you to receive a penalty for your actions, albeit for a lesser offense.

Jury trials must be fair. The prosecution and defense teams must be allowed to present evidence, the basis on which the judge will rule. If the prosecutor doubts their ability to obtain a guilty verdict in your case, they will likely offer you a plea deal. If not, they will quickly accept it if your attorney initiates a plea bargain.

Sometimes, prosecutors require more time to gather evidence and prepare for trial. A skilled attorney can use that to demonstrate how the extension caused your suffering. They can do that to compel the prosecutor to agree to a plea deal. The judge will consider issues like those, or any other wrong that was not our fault, to agree to the plea deal. For example, if you suffered police harassment during arrest, you could have an upper hand during plea bargains.

Your Criminal History

Prosecutors and judges consider defendants' criminal histories to make crucial decisions in criminal cases. Your criminal history communicates something to the prosecutor during a plea bargain. If you are a first offender, the prosecutor can assume that the offense was only a mistake and that you are least likely to offend in the future. That is why you stand a better chance of securing a deal before trial.

However, obtaining a plea deal with the prosecutor could be challenging if you are a repeat offender. If you have one or more prior DUIs or wet reckless convictions, the prosecutor can quickly assume you will likely offend. In that case, they will be reluctant to offer a deal or accept a deal negotiation from your attorney.

However, having a skilled criminal attorney increases your chances of successfully negotiating a DUI charge to a reckless one, even if you are a repeat offender. If, in the past, you received a wet reckless plea deal, your attorney can argue that you did not face a drug or alcohol-related conviction in the past, and so you deserve leniency this time around.

What You Benefit From a Wet Reckless Plea Deal

You should not take a criminal conviction lightly, regardless of how minor it seems. Even though it is mainly a misdemeanor offense, a DUI can result in life-altering consequences that follow you years after the conviction. That is why prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys advocate for plea deals to ensure your repercussions are not as grave as you would receive after a DUI conviction.

It helps to think of the benefits you stand to enjoy after a successful plea bargain. These depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. If the judge accepts the prosecutor's plea deal, they will throw out the DUI charge and notify the DMV about the changes in your case. You will not face administrative consequences since your charge will no longer be for a DUI. Your attorney can follow up with the DMV to ensure they change your charge from a DUI to a wet reckless.

When you are ready to plead guilty to wet recklessness, the judge will hold a hearing, from which you will receive penalties for the lesser charge. Here are other benefits you enjoy:

Your Probation is Shorter

The probation you receive after a DUI conviction depends on your charges. Since the first, second, and third DUI charges are misdemeanors, you will likely receive a misdemeanor probation if the judge prefers to sentence you to probation and not jail. Misdemeanor probations last between one and three years. The maximum probation period you can receive after a felony DUI conviction is five years. But since Wet Reckless is a lesser offense than DUI, you will likely face shorter probation than you would for a DUI conviction.

Shorter probation means you will complete your sentence soon enough to return to your freedom and what you enjoy, including traveling and mingling with family and friends. It also means that probation terms and conditions will only bind you for a short time. Probation for Wet Reckless lasts one to two years, less than probation for a DUI.

If the judge sentences you to misdemeanor probation, you will be under court supervision. The judge will set probation terms and conditions to adhere to throughout the period. For example, you must not be arrested or prosecuted for another offense while on probation. You must also submit periodic reports to the judge on your progress. You are not required to violate any of the court-given probation conditions. If you do so, you can face additional charges.

Your Jail Sentence is Shorter

If the judge sentences you to jail, your sentence will be shorter than you would receive for a DUI conviction. Typically, you will receive three months of jail time after a reckless conviction. A jail sentence means that you will serve your sentence behind bars. You could lose a lot during incarceration, including your job, business, friends, or family. Longer incarceration completely disrupts your life. That is why a shorter jail sentence is more appealing to someone with more to lose if incarcerated.

After serving your jail sentence for three months, you can quickly return to your life as if nothing happened. You will likely not lose a lot; your job or business can wait three months. You cannot lose your family or friends in three months. You should be able to return to your daily routine with minimal struggle.

You Are Not Subject to Commercial License Suspensions

A driver's license suspension is among the grave consequences you receive after a DUI conviction. It temporarily or permanently removes your driving privilege based on the case's circumstances and your criminal history. The impact is felt more by commercial drivers who rely on their licenses to earn a living. A DUI conviction for a commercial driver results in a mandatory suspension of their driver's license. It could take time to reinstate your driving privilege, especially if there were aggravating factors like an injury or death in your case.

A wet reckless plea bargain is an excellent way to avoid the mandatory suspension of your driver's license as a commercial driver. You can retain your driving privileges after a conviction. However, that protection on your license does not always apply to all cases relating to wet recklessness. If you have accumulated more DMV points on your driving record, the DMV will likely suspend your license.

Remember that the DMV has a point system that monitors traffic violations and awards points every time a driver commits an infraction. The point system identifies repeat offenders who receive additional penalties and fines once they accumulate a given number of points within a specific period. A conviction for wet reckless gives you two records. You are subject to punitive measures if your points exceed a particular number. For example, if you accumulate more than four points in a year as a commercial driver, you could face a mandatory license suspension by the DMV.

Less Court Fine

A court fine is a likely penalty after a criminal conviction. The amount depends on the underlying charge. For example, a first-time DUI offender could pay $390 in court fines, which increases with the number of prior DUI convictions on your record. The amount can go up to $3000 if put together with the case processing fee. You are required to pay even more after a felony DUI conviction.

Typically, court fines are expensive. No one is usually ready to pay a court fine. Some people have to borrow money from family and friends to pay for it, which is a great inconvenience.

Since plea bargains come with lesser penalties than the underlying charge, you will likely receive a penalty for a smaller court fine after a wet reckless deal. A smaller court fine means you can easily afford to pay the fine without requiring financial help from your family or friends.

A Shorter Duration in DUI School

A DUI arrest does not always mean you have an alcohol or drug problem. But the judge will still order you to attend DUI school for up to 30 months after a conviction. You must also pay all the costs associated with it. That could be inconvenient for someone who only made a drunken or drugged-driving mistake and does not need treatment and rehabilitation.

A charge reduction from DUi to wet reckless allows you to enjoy shorter periods or zero time in a DUI school. If you must attend a DUI school, it will only be for six weeks or less, which you can easily manage regardless of your busy schedule. A shorter DUI school period also means you will pay less for treatment and rehabilitation. Since you will only be there for a short period, you will be less worried about missing sessions, which is a violation of your probation.

Find a Competent Criminal Attorney Near Me

Do you or someone you love face DUI charges in Monterey?

A DUI is a life-altering charge, as it can result in incarceration, hefty court fines, lost driving privileges, and a damaging criminal record. That is why you must consider a plea bargain to reduce your charge and the penalties you will likely receive after a conviction. You require proper legal guidance and advice to understand what a plea bargain means and its benefits in your particular situation.

We can start a plea negotiation with the prosecutor on your behalf at Monterey Criminal Attorney. But first, we will ensure that it is in your best interest. If the circumstances of your case make it hard for the prosecutor to offer a plea deal, we can aggressively fight your case in court and ensure you receive more favorable terms. Call us at 831-574-1791 to learn how a wet reckless plea deal will benefit your case.