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What Is a Wet Reckless?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Santa Cruz DUI defense attorneyA “wet reckless” is the only crime in the Penal Code for which one cannot be arrested. Over an inch and a half thick, the Vehicle Code (not the Penal Code, which metes out punishments for yet other crimes) proscribes everything from no front license plate to vehicular homicide. Yet a “wet reckless” exists only as a tool to plea bargain DUI cases - it is not a crime one can commit unless one agrees to the prosecutor and judge using it to amend a complaint alleging a DUI case.

Specifically, allowing the complaint to be amended from a VC 23152 to a VC 23103 per 23103.5. Vehicle Code section 23103 makes reckless driving unlawful; adding the 23103.5 means it was reckless “with alcohol involved.” The big difference between a 23103 (mere reckless, or “dry reckless”) and a 23103 per 23103.5 (wet reckless) is that a wet reckless can be used against you as a prior should you be arrested and convicted of a DUI in the future. 

For many people, a wet reckless is viewed as a huge win. For others, it is viewed as no big deal (or even capitulating to a loss). Realistically, whether it is good in a certain case depends on the facts of that case and the individual accused. It does not directly lead to a license suspension, which for some saves a job. Still others don’t need a license, or don’t care about their right to drive (think folks who live in San Francisco, folks who have a driver, folks who are leaving the country, etc.). In most cases, it is only the first step in trying to save driving privileges, as the DMV has a separate process where they will try to suspend one’s driving privilege - but if one’s ability to drive is paramount, it could be an important first step. There are also reduced fines, classes, and “jail” time (put in quotes as very few, if any, folks go to actual jail for a first offense DUI conviction these days).

Ultimately, whether a wet reckless - if one can be negotiated - is appropriate for your case depends on the unique circumstances of both the case and the individual accused.

Exploring DUI Alternatives?

If you are facing DUI charges, you may recognize some of the potential effects that a conviction could have on your future. The good news is that no matter the odds against you, there still may be a defensive opportunity for the situation. Wet reckless is only one possible solution and may not work best for your circumstances. Obtaining legal counsel provides the best potential for achieving a successful outcome, especially in the most complicated cases. If you are interested in discussing your case strategy with a Santa Cruz, CA DUI defense attorney, contact John W. Thornton, Attorney at Law today by calling 831-426-5800 or 831-566-4357 to schedule your initial, risk-free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/individuals/Pages/DUI.aspx

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/dui/reportability

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