I. What is a wet reckless?
Before we look at the pros and cons of a wet reckless, let’s define “wet reckless.” A wet reckless is a colloquially-used term for a reduced plea for someone charged with a DUI. A wet reckless is also known as California VC 23103/23103.5. This reduced plea (wet reckless) looks better on your record, DMV sheet, background checks, insurance rates, etc.
II. Let’s look at the pros of a wet reckless:
A wet reckless generally results in lower fines. In contrast, a DUI conviction has a minimum that may result in over $2,000. “Wet” fines can range between $150-$1,000, depending on what we negotiate with the District Attorney.
A DUI class is not required for a wet-reckless. However, the Judge may order a 12-hour or 30-hour AB541 class. On the other hand, statue requires at least an AB541 DUI program when a defendant is convicted of a DUI.
If a 12-hour class is ordered by the Judge, the cost is cheaper and it can be done in 2 Saturday sessions. For a DUI, you’re looking at a minimum 3-month class (30 hours total), or in some cases a 6-month class, 9-month class, 18-month class, or 30-month class depending on the circumstances of the case.
Unlike a DUI, there is no automatic license suspension through Mandatory Actions Unit when dealing with a wet-reckless.
All DUI convictions in California trigger an IID order. A wet-reckless does not. IID installation can be expensive (over $100 for installation) plus a monthly fee (over $100 per month.) Additionally, IID’s often have maintenance issues, create anxiety for the driver, and causes embarrassment when driving with friends, family, clients, etc.
You may not need to add an SR-22 to your insurance policy. If you win your APS hearing AND you get a wet-reckless, there’s no need to add an SR-22. It’s important to note that if you lose your APS hearing, even with a wet-reckless, you will still need to add an SR-22 to regain your driving privileges.
A wet-reckless has 90 days maximum of jail time vs. 180 days maximum of jail time for exposure (time hanging over defendant’s head) if you violate at a later time.
With a wet-reckless, there is also a shorter probation period. The probation period for a wet-reckless is 1 year, whereas the probation period for a DUI is 3 years by statue. A shorter probation means that you become eligible for 1203.4 (expungement) sooner, allowing you to clean up your record sooner.
III. Now let’s look at the Cons:
A wet-reckless counts as a prior, meaning if you’re charged with another DUI within 10 years of a wet reckless conviction, the wet reckless will count as a prior DUI.
A wet-reckless incurs 2 points on your license which will increase your insurance rates, although not as much as a DUI conviction. If you have other points on your license from prior ticket convictions, it could trigger a “negligent operator” suspension if you have 4 or more points in 12 months.
IV. We Can Help
While every case is different, as is every outcome, it’s always in your best interest to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Mark A. Gallagher has over 20 years experience handling DUI cases successfully. Contact us today to see how we can help you get the best possible outcome for you or your loved one’s DUI case.