When you face a DUI charge in Chula Vista, CA, you might have questions about reducing the charge to wet reckless bargain. A wet reckless is a familiar way to plead with the court to reduce your DUI charge. Usually, it will happen when the prosecutor has insufficient evidence about your DUI charge. For example, the prosecutor may fail to prove you were driving while impaired. Since there is not enough evidence to support this claim, the court will consider reducing the DUI charge to a wet reckless conviction. However, you must understand how a reckless plea bargain works, whether you are eligible for the deal, and the advantages associated with the plea.
Although pleading a wet reckless is a good option, it sometimes can be disadvantageous. For instance, a conviction may lead to a rise in your insurance premiums. Also, the court may still suspend your driver’s license. When the law enforcement officers arrest you in California over a DUI charge, you want to seek legal help from a well-skilled DUI attorney when it is in your interest to seek a wet reckless plea deal.
At Chula Vista Criminal Attorney, our attorneys have effectively and aggressively represented our clients seeking to secure a wet reckless plea bargain. We believe the right time to reduce your DUI charge to a wet reckless is now. Contact our attorneys as soon as possible, and we will begin working on your case right away.
Understanding Wet Reckless?
In California, wet recklessness is not an offense you will face charges for, or the prosecutor can charge you. It’s a plea bargain available for the people accused of a DUI charge or someone operating a vehicle with a BAC above 0.08%. Therefore wet recklessness stands in for a reduced DUI charge. The plea is usually issued to first-time DUI offenders. You will find it challenging to obtain the plea when you had a previous charge.
When the court grants you the plea bargain, you will avoid the heavy fines associated with DUI charges. Also, you will not remain behind bars for an extensive period. To know whether you are eligible for this plea bargain, you want to work with your experienced DUI attorney.
How You Can Obtain the Plea Bargain
The criminal court judge will not automatically issue you with this plea bargain. Primarily, the law enforcement officers cannot arrest you over wet recklessness. This is a plea a court will offer to you after your first DUI arrest. To the repeat offenders, it is an additional benefit. Also, the compulsory sentence enhancement must be eliminated to repeat offenders before they seek wet reckless plea. So, you will not have the possibility of facing a mandatory jail term. The court will also not suspend your driver’s license or impose huge fines against you.
The fact that you are eligible for the plea bargain in California will depend on the situation of your case. In many cases, the choice will depend on your DUI criminal history. Once the police arrest you over a DUI charge, they will investigate whether you had a prior case within the last ten years. When they discover that you had a previous wet reckless charge, you will more likely face a heavier penalty. Remember, the court in California considered wet recklessness a misdemeanor.
The Main Reasons Why You Can Obtain a Wet Reckless Plea in California
In a reduced DUI conviction, it’s not compulsory you were driving while intoxicated or reckless. So, the court can allow you to take a wet reckless plea. However, the prosecutor will only agree:
- When your BAC was above 0.08%
- If you do not have a criminal record of alcohol or drug-related offenses
- When the court has evidence of rising BAC
- If you did not have probable cause during your arrest
- When the arresting officers did not conduct the sobriety and chemical tests properly
The prosecution team will not be willing to move ahead with a case they are more likely to lose. In cases where prosecutorial errors occurred, or the court has insufficient evidence, the prosecution team will agree to a wet reckless plea. Otherwise, the defendant may walk out of the detention facility for free.
After the two parties agree on the plea, the criminal court must approve it. The criminal court judge may disagree with your wet reckless plea when you have several DUI convictions. Therefore, before entering into the plea bargain, you want to ensure your criminal defense attorney knows your past criminal history. It’s also good to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of agreeing to the plea bargain.
Advantages of Wet Reckless
There are numerous benefits to opting for this plea bargain instead of facing a DUI charge. The following are the Potential benefits of opting for the plea bargain:
Less Jail Time Exposure
Wet reckless attracts a jail sentence of up to 12 weeks in the county jail. When convicted of a first-time DUI offense, the maximum penalty you can face includes six months imprisonment in county jail. The maximum jail term increases for each subsequent DUI offense. Therefore facing a conviction for wet recklessness is better than facing a DUI conviction. It's better to face six months imprisonment than six months imprisonment.
The jail term you serve also affects your probation. Therefore, when placed under probation as part of your conviction, you will only face imprisonment for ninety days if you violate your probation. You have to note that the punishment for a probation violation is limited by the jail term you would have served.
When dealing with a second offense DUI, which is then reduced to wet reckless, you may be exposed to less jail time. As per California laws, a conviction for a second time DUI attracts a minimum ninety days sentence in county jail. A third-time DUI attracts imprisonment in county jail for six months. However, the minimum sentence for the offense is imprisonment in county jail for five days. Therefore, obtaining a wet reckless plea deal affects your time behind bars.
The judge imposes a maximum fine of $1000 for both wet reckless and DUI convictions. However, the crime carries a lower fine than a DUI conviction. Again, the judge must impose an additional penalty assessment on the sentence in any criminal conviction. Therefore, the total fine and assessment for DUI conviction quickly accumulate to $3000.However, wet reckless carries a common fine and assessment of up to $1500.
The Court Will Not Suspend Your License
In California, when convicted of DUI, the department of motor vehicles requires your license suspension. The automatic license suspension lasts up to six months. At times, the suspension of your license can last up to one year. This occurs when the driver refuses to take a chemical blood alcohol test or when the driver is below 21 years.
Wet reckless conviction in California doesn't require suspension of your driver's license as per Department of motor vehicles regulations. The license suspension will not be automatic even when the driver refuses to take a chemical blood test. The driver would be entitled to a hearing to determine the status of the license if the blood alcohol was above 0.08 percent.
Reduced Probation Period
When convicted of a DUI charge in California, you face three to five years of probation. However, a wet reckless charge carries only one to three-year probation. If it is the first time you are facing wet reckless charges, you may face probation for only one year. It acts as a benefit to you if you are concerned about employment background checks.
Most of the background checks are reviewed if you are on probation currently. With one year of a probation program, you know that a career or job change will occur in one year instead of many years. Remember that a short probation period is a factor when expunging your record.
Less Time in DUI School
Under California laws, when convicted of a first offense DUI, you must complete a 12-week alcohol education. When convicted of wet recklessness, you must attend alcohol education classes for six weeks if the program is imposed as part of sentencing. You must attend the alcohol education class for nine months for a second reckless offense. Therefore, you can always negotiate for a plea bargain in your DUI case as it attracts less severe penalties.
What are the Disadvantages of Wet Reckless Plea Bargain?
Although wet reckless plea bargains have numerous advantages, they still have their drawbacks treated similarly to DUI convictions. However, you want to know that wet recklessness doesn’t result in something worse than a DUI charge. The following are the potential disadvantages associated with a wet reckless plea bargain:
Potential License Suspension
As discussed above, although license suspension is not compulsory as in a DUI charge, it is still applicable in rare cases of wet reckless conviction. For instance, your driver's license will be suspended when you lose your DMV hearing and have a BAC level above 0.08%. It would help if you worked closely with your DUI attorney to ensure you do not lose at your DMV hearing. A skilled DUI attorney is highly recommended for the success of your DMV hearing.
Insurers Consider a DUI and Wet Reckless Case Similarly
A wet reckless can see your insurance premiums rise sharply, like a DUI case. Remember that renewing your insurance policy with a pending conviction will be difficult. You might also find it challenging to find a new insurer. Work with your DUI attorney to provide the legal help you require.
The Offense Will Count As a “Prior”
If your later DUI charge is 2nd, 1st, 3rd, or even 4th, the court will consider a wet reckless DUI on your criminal records. Although a conviction for the crime will sound like a better conviction in your criminal records, it counts as a repeat DUI offender. So, it would help if you worked with your DUI attorney to ensure your wet reckless conviction is deleted from your criminal records. Otherwise, it will still affect your future life.
Other Disadvantages Associated with The Crime
Apart from the above disadvantages, you will still face the following demerits after you plea a wet reckless deal:
- You will obtain two points on your DMV records.
- Negotiating to obtain the plea bargain is stressful and complicated. You will not be guaranteed to receive the wet reckless plea.
- A potential employer will discover the wet reckless conviction on your criminal records.
What is the Difference Between a DUI and Wet Reckless?
A conviction for a DUI charge will not attract the same penalties as a wet reckless. The two cases will come with varied penalties from the criminal court, employer, and the licensing agencies. The term “wet reckless” doesn’t describe a criminal court charge. However, you may have a reckless conviction on your criminal record. The record can affect you in your future life.
A DUI conviction will attract the installation of an IID device. Also, the DUI conviction will come with your driver’s license suspension. In many cases, the California department of motor vehicles will decide to suspend your license before court proceedings begin. The court will issue a license suspension for four months when you are a first-time offender. But the law allows you to seek a restricted license. When the court grants you the restricted license, it will come to play after one month.
Another critical difference occurs in your criminal records. A first-time DUI offense is considered a misdemeanor. Alternatively, recklessness is described as a previous offense. Note that the implication of the two before the eyes of driving regulators and insurance agencies would be the same. After a wet reckless, the insurance is more likely to go higher. The jail term for wet reckless is usually lower than for a DUI offense. As per the law, you can only face three months jail term for the crime. Also, the fines for wet recklessness are lower than for DUI charges.
Other Plea Bargains Related to Wet Reckless
Other plea bargains relate to wet recklessness. They include:
You violate California pc 624(f) when you place the lives of passengers and property at risk by being intoxicated until you are unable to exercise the duty of care. Therefore, you will violate this law if you do not use caution and prevent others from exercising their public rights due to intoxication. To face the conviction for being publicly drunk, the prosecutor must prove:
- You were intentionally operating a vehicle while impaired.
- You were intoxicated in an open or public location like a nightclub or a hotel.
- Due to your intoxication, you prevent, obstruct, or interfere with the unrestricted use of open ways.
However, you can use various legal defenses to fight against the charges; the Defenses include you didn't knowingly consume the drugs and lacked probable cause for arrest.
Speed Exhibition PC 23109
According to Penal Code 23109, it's unlawful to accelerate a vehicle at a speed that can endanger other people's lives due to intoxication. In this case, you will face charges for speed exhibition even if you were operating the car under the standard speed limit. What is required is evidence that your car accelerates too fast.
Speed exhibition convictions penalties include fines up to $500, two-year probation, and less jail exposure. The elements the prosecutor must prove for speed exhibition include:
- You were driving a motor vehicle.
- You are propelled at a speed that seems dangerous during driving.
- The intention of accelerating the vehicle's speed was to show off, and in the process, you helped someone commit an offense.
You face charges for dry recklessness when you succeed in having a DUI charge; you were arrested for reducing a plea deal. The Prosecution will agree to this deal when they have a weak case or when title 17 was violated. When any California regulations were violated, a defense lawyer can argue the results were not accurate and unreliable. And therefore, the prosecutor may decide to opt for a dry reckless charge. Dry reckless comes with many benefits compared to wet reckless. The benefits include:
Dry Reckless Does Not Affect Your Driver's License
Both wet reckless conviction and DUI affect your driver's license. However, with a dry reckless conviction, insurance companies will not be concerned about your license since the crime is not alcohol-related. Therefore, if you are charged with dry recklessness, you expect fewer questions about your sentence when compared to wet recklessness.
Dry Reckless is Not a Priorable Offense
If you were previously convicted with a wet reckless charge, the charges for the second offense would be enhanced due to the previous one. However, the subsequent offense is always deemed the first offense in a dry reckless conviction, even if you have a DUI conviction. Auto insurers term wet reckless as DUI, which can cancel the policy. In dry reckless, your sentence is not related to alcohol or drugs and cannot result in a policy cancellation.
Can You Expunge a Wet Reckless Record?
Yes, you can clear a wet reckless record from your criminal history. According to California PC 1203.4, you can remove the record after meeting the requirements. Clearing the criminal record will come with added advantages. For instance, you will not find it challenging to seek a job in the future. However, it would help if you met the conditions listed below:
- Complete your probation.
- You should not have a pending charge.
After you meet the above conditions and your criminal record is deleted, you will not be worried to say you have ever been convicted with a wet reckless or drunk driving. But when you commit a similar crime within ten years, the offense will appear after your background check. However, you must work closely with your DUI attorney to delete the criminal record. The attorney will ensure you meet all the conditions necessary to delete the criminal records.
What are the Obligations of Drivers Who Face the Conviction?
The state has regulations that the drivers convicted of wet recklessness must fulfill. These regulations are:
- You will attend 12-hour counseling monitored by California health care.
- Depending on your chemical test results, you should undergo a training exercise for around three months, six months, or nine months.
- When a second-time offender, you will attend an eighteen months program, weekly interview, six-hour monitoring, and education on alcohol and drugs for twelve hours.
Remember violation of the above obligations would attract additional penalties to your current case. Therefore if you are a driver under these restrictions, observe them keenly to avoid further penalties. Ask your DUI attorney about any rule you do not understand about how it works. Also, seek legal advice from your attorney every time you doubt the rules.
What are the Criminal Implications for a Wet Reckless in California?
One essential thing you want to note about a wet reckless is you will have a record on your criminal history. Remember, the court considers wet recklessness a misdemeanor and thus should be recorded on your criminal record. But, when you repeat a wet reckless conviction, the court will consider it a criminal offense. So, as a job seeker, the record will come hunting for you. Please do not lie about it when seeking a new job because a background check will show your criminal record, including the wet reckless conviction.
Remember, even when it was your first-time wet with a reckless conviction, the department of justice might have indicated it in your criminal record. So, accept the conviction when your employer asks rather than being dishonest. Remember, you have the opportunity to dismiss the criminal record with the help of a well-skilled DUI attorney.
The expungement will save you from the negative record in your history. But remember to always work closely with a well-skilled and trained attorney. Unskilled and inexperienced attorneys will only waste much of your time. If the court orders you to serve a probation term, you want to ensure you complete it. Adhere to the terms and conditions of the probation. Note, if you do not follow the terms of the probation well, you will find it challenging to dismiss the criminal records.
Contact a Chula Vista DUI Attorney Near Me
When the law enforcement officers arrest you over drunk driving in Chula Vista, CA, you might face heavy fines and serve extensive jail terms that come with a DUI conviction. However, with a well-skilled attorney, the court may decide to reduce your charges to a wet reckless conviction.
At Chula Vista Criminal Attorney, we understand a DUI conviction can be stressful. We are ready to defend our clients who face a DUI charge in California. We help you understand how the plea deal works, its advantages and disadvantages. Contact us at 619-877-6894 for more information and an evaluation of your case.