ORANGE COUNTY'S "BEST" DUI DEFENSE LAWYERS RATED BY SUPER LAWYERS, ORANGE COUNTY'S "TOP-RATED" DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
How a DUI and Wet Reckless Are Connected
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DUI AND A WET RECKLESS
I’m often asked: what is a “wet reckless”? A wet reckless is an “alcohol-related” reckless driving. Well, that does not really answer the question, does it?
A wet reckless is a plea to another Vehicle Code Section, Vehicle Code Section 23013 per Vehicle Code Section 23103.5. The latter statutory provision permits the government to use a "wet reckless" conviction as a prior DUI conviction for purposes of punishment in the second or subsequent case.
In many respects a wet reckless is a plea to regular "reckless driving" with the notation that alcohol was involved and thus constituting a prior DUI offense. The terms commonly use to distinguish between a wet reckless, or an alcohol-related reckless, and a regular reckless are: "wet reckless" and "dry reckless", for obvious reasons.
It is important to note that a person cannot be charged with the crime of "wet reckless" - its "negotiated plea". This is an important distinction between a "wet reckless" and a "dry reckless" because a person can just be charged with just regular reckless driving, such as when a person is driving well in excess of the speed limit. It is important to note that a person does not want to be charge with both a DUI and reckless driving as it will expose a person to a mandatory 60 day jail sentence pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 23582. This is considered a DUI enhancement. Click the link to learn more about a DUI Reckless Speed Enhancement.
A plea to an alcohol-related reckless driving also implies that, at the time of driving, the person was not impaired and not at or above 0.08%, which would otherwise be required by law for a person to be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs - at least as it pertains to the impairment count. Click the link to learn more about drunk driving charges involving alcohol and this link to learn more about driving under the influence of drugs or drugs and/or alcohol. It is presumably for this reason that prosecutors are required to submit a form to the court setting forth the reasons the DUI charges were being dismissed in exchange to a plea to a wet reckless.
A plea to a wet reckless also avoids the six month restriction that stems from a DUI conviction pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 23152(a), (b), (e) or (f) and, notably, if you were to prevail at the DMV APS Hearing, you would avoid any suspension and the requirement that you file an SR-22 for three years.
Absent a reduction to a “dry reckless, or a plea to Vehicle Code Section 23013 without the additional plea to Vehicle Code Section 23103.5, there certainly are advantages to a plea to a wet reckless pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 23013 per 23013.5; however, that is not always the case because in some cases a plea to a wet reckless would be insufficient to your factual situation. Only an experienced and knowledgeable DUI Attorney can effectively counsel you on whether you should enter a plea to a wet reckless versus pursuing the matter to trial. Every case is evaluated at a case-by-case basis – no two cases are exactly the same.