Difference Between DUI and Wet Reckless in California

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Attorney Christopher J McCannIf you are a driver and you have been arrested for alcohol related issues, there are a number of legal terms that you should be conversant with. Some of the common terms that you will hear are DWI, DUI and wet and reckless. DWI and DUI are used interchangeably which means that they mean the same thing. DUI stands for Driving under influence while DWI means driving while intoxicated. A wet reckless on the other hand was devised in a bid to encourage DUI offenders to plead guilty to a lesser crime. In a wet reckless charge, the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser charge for example reckless driving. However, a notation will be made that alcohol was involved. This article outlines the difference between DUI and wet reckless in California.

DUI in California
According to California laws on drunk driving, anyone who is found while intoxicated will have committed a crime. The conviction will be made using several methods for example using a breathalyzer, urine test, blood test and so on. There are also aggravating factors which could increase the penalties you receive on DUI. Some of these aggravating factors include speeding, being involved in an accident, very high BAC level e.g. 0.2% and also having a child in the car. If you are convicted of DUI and you also have one or more of these aggravating factors, you could end up receiving very harsh penalties.

California wet reckless
Simply stated, wet reckless charge is a charge devised as an incentive to DUI offenders to plead guilty to a lesser charge. This wet and reckless option was adopted in 1982 in a bid to increase the number of convictions in close cases. Wet and reckless option is more advantageous to the defendants in that it provides for less penalties and fines.

Penalties for DUI
The penalties for a DUI offense will vary depending on the severity of the crime committed and also the number of times the crime has been repeated. The penalties become stiffer with increase in the number of repeat offenses. For a person who has committed the first DUI offense, he should expect penalties such as a probation for up to five years, a fine of up to $1,800, suspension of driving privileges for up to 6 months, compulsory alcohol rehabilitation classes for up to 45 hours and also a jail term of up to 48 hours. Sometimes the jail term will be converted to community service. For repeat DUI offenders, they should expect stricter penalties.

Penalties for wet reckless
Wet and reckless is a criminal offense and therefore it will get in to your records just like a DUI offense. Insurance companies and other institutions regard wet reckless as a form of DUI. If you receive another DUI in a period of 10 years since the wet reckless charge, it will be considered as a repeat DUI. For this type of charge, you should expect to pay a monetary fine of between $600 and $1,200. You can also be sentenced to a probation which will run for between one and three years. On top of this, you will be ordered to attend an alcohol rehabilitation program which will run for about 12 hours.

About Guest Post Author:

If you have been charged with DUI or wet reckless, it would be important to look for a lawyer who is highly experienced in this field. Christopher J McCann has the required qualifications and experience to handle such cases in Los Angeles or Orange County. As an Orange County DUI Attorney he will work hard to try to help get your DUI charges reduced to wet and reckless. He will also help to facilitate expungement of your alcohol related public CA criminal records. Read about  Christopher McCann Attorney Client Reviews. You can follow him on twitter at @cjm_law_firm

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