The journey from a DUI charge to a trial can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially without legal guidance. A DUI offense can carry severe penalties and long-lasting implications for your personal and professional life.
However, there is a lesser-known plea bargain known as a “wet reckless” that may serve as a lifeline for some defendants, potentially leading to lighter penalties and lesser social stigma. This plea is not always easy to secure, and navigating the legalities surrounding it can be complicated. That’s where an experienced Oakland Wet Reckless Lawyer from Summit Defense can step in to help.
Our Oakland DUI attorneys at Summit Defense are always here to help you. An experienced Oakland DUI lawyer from our office would be happy to answer your questions and review your case. Learn more about what you should do after a DUI arrest below, and reach out to a criminal defense attorney from our office for assistance.
An Oakland Wet Reckless Lawyer Can Help Secure a Wet Reckless for Your Case
Being charged with DUI in Oakland can be a daunting experience. However, with the help of an experienced DUI attorney from Summit Defense, you may be able to negotiate your charges down to a “wet reckless” offense, depending on the circumstances of your case. Our Oakland DUI lawyers are here to provide compassionate, focused legal guidance to navigate these complex proceedings. Schedule a consultation with an Oakland DUI attorney from our office to learn more.
Understanding California DUI Laws
California DUI laws under Vehicle Code 23152(a) and 23152(b) make it illegal for a person to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more. The penalties for DUI offenses can be severe, including fines, jail time, and license suspension. California law and the criminal justice system in Alameda County can be complicated, so rely on an Oakland DUI attorney from our office to represent you.
All About Wet Reckless Charges
A “wet reckless” charge, also known as reckless driving involving alcohol, is a lesser charge often negotiated in DUI plea deals in California. Under Vehicle Code 23103 per VC 23103.5, a wet reckless charge can be made when the prosecutor and defendant agree to it in lieu of a DUI charge.
Factors That May Lead to a Wet Reckless Charge
Factors that may increase the likelihood of a DUI being reduced to a wet reckless include:
- A BAC that is borderline illegal (close to 0.08%);
- No previous DUI or wet reckless convictions;
- No involvement in a traffic accident; or
- Overall cooperative behavior with law enforcement during the DUI investigation.
The Benefits of Getting a Wet Reckless Plea Deal in Oakland
Pleading to a wet reckless charge can bring significant benefits. These benefits are contingent on specific circumstances and vary from case to case. However, they can provide considerable relief from the harsh consequences that a DUI conviction often entails.
Fines for a wet reckless offense are often significantly lower than those for a DUI conviction. While the cost of a DUI can quickly escalate to several thousand dollars, especially when you account for potential insurance rate increases and other related costs, a wet reckless plea can significantly reduce these financial penalties, making it a more economically viable option for many individuals.
Reduced Jail Time
A wet reckless plea can result in less or even no jail time compared to a DUI conviction. The impact of jail time on an individual’s personal and professional life can be far-reaching, leading to job loss and strained personal relationships. The possibility of reduced jail time that comes with a wet reckless plea is beneficial in the immediate sense and helps preserve your lifestyle and commitments in the long run.
Less Compulsory Jail Sentence for a Person With Past DUI Convictions
A wet reckless conviction won’t mandate a compulsory jail sentence if the offender is convicted of another DUI in the near future. This is crucial for those with prior convictions, as mandatory jail sentences for repeat offenders can be severe under California’s DUI laws. Being able to negotiate a wet reckless plea can provide a significant reprieve in such situations, reducing the risk of lengthy periods of incarceration.
Shorter Probation Term
The probation period for a wet reckless conviction is generally shorter than for a DUI. Probation comes with its own set of restrictions and responsibilities, and a shorter probation term can mean regaining full freedom sooner. The importance of this cannot be overstated, as it helps individuals return to their normal life faster, with fewer lingering consequences from their legal issues.
Reduced DUI School Period
The DUI school period for a wet reckless offense is usually shorter than for a DUI conviction. This reduction means less time commitment and potentially lower costs for education fees. Additionally, a shorter DUI school period can also mean less disruption to your daily routine, preserving your personal and professional obligations.
No Compulsory Court-Ordered Driver’s License Suspension
Unlike with DUI conviction, a wet reckless conviction does not automatically trigger a driver’s license suspension. This benefit is critical for those who rely on their driving privileges for work, school, or personal responsibilities. Not having your driver’s license suspended can prevent a cascade of difficulties, like finding alternative transportation or potentially losing a job that requires driving.
Possible Reduced Effect on a Person’s Professional License
A wet reckless plea may have a less detrimental effect on professional licensing than a DUI conviction. For those in professions where a DUI conviction must be reported and can lead to disciplinary action, such as healthcare, law, or certain government jobs, this potential benefit can be the difference between retaining or losing their professional standing and livelihood.
No Compulsory Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Installation
Unlike certain DUI convictions, a wet reckless conviction does not require the obligatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). This benefit saves you from the expense and inconvenience of having an IID installed and maintained in your vehicle. Moreover, it helps you maintain privacy and avoid the potential embarrassment some people feel when they have an IID in their vehicle.
Disadvantages of a Wet Reckless Conviction
While a wet reckless plea can bring several benefits, it’s not without its disadvantages. Understanding these is crucial to making an informed decision about your legal strategy. The disadvantages include:
- Priorable Offense: One significant downside is that a wet reckless conviction is still considered a priorable offense. This means if you are arrested for a DUI later, the wet reckless may be counted as a prior offense and can enhance your sentence for the new DUI.
- Insurance Impact: A wet reckless conviction can still lead to increased insurance premiums. Insurance companies often view a wet reckless conviction similarly to a DUI conviction, meaning your insurance rates could still go up.
- Permanent Record: Just like a DUI, a wet reckless conviction will be part of your permanent criminal record, which can affect employment, housing, and other opportunities where a background check is involved.
- Court-Ordered Alcohol Program: Depending on the specifics of your case, you may still be ordered to attend an alcohol program. Though the length of the program might be shorter than with a DUI, it is still a commitment of time and resources.
Wet and Dry Reckless Distinction
Unlike a wet reckless, a “dry reckless” conviction under Vehicle Code 23103 does not involve alcohol and is not considered a priorable offense. Reach out to an attorney with our office if you have questions about the distinction.
Aggravating Factors That Can Affect Your DUI Penalties
Certain aggravating factors can significantly enhance DUI penalties and make it less likely to negotiate a wet reckless plea deal. These factors could play a significant role in the severity of your sentence and can make your situation more complex. Some of these factors include:
- High BAC: Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) significantly above the legal limit (.08%) can be considered an aggravating factor and could result in harsher penalties. The higher the BAC, the less likely it is that the prosecution will be willing to negotiate a lesser charge like a wet reckless.
- Causing Injury: If your DUI resulted in an accident that caused injury to another person, this is a serious aggravating factor. Not only could this lead to additional charges, but it also makes a wet reckless plea less likely.
- Having a Minor in the Car: Driving under the influence with a minor inside the vehicle is considered child endangerment, which is a serious offense in itself. This situation significantly complicates your case and can make a plea deal to a lesser charge much less likely.
- Repeat Offenses: If you have previous DUI convictions, these prior offenses will make it much harder to secure a wet reckless plea deal. The courts are often less lenient with repeat offenders, leading to enhanced penalties.
- Excessive Speed or Reckless Driving: If you were arrested for a DUI while also excessively speeding or driving recklessly, these can be considered aggravating factors. Such behavior suggests a disregard for the safety of others and can lead to a less favorable legal outcome.
Obligations of Drivers Convicted With Wet Reckless
Drivers convicted of a wet reckless must typically complete a DUI education program and are often placed on probation. This can make it much harder for you to attend school, find employment, and run errands around town.
Defending Wet Reckless
The defenses for a wet reckless charge are generally the same as for a DUI. A comprehensive legal strategy often involves analyzing all aspects of your arrest and the evidence against you. A few defenses we may use include the following:
- Challenging BAC Test Results: Errors can occur in administering or interpreting breath or blood tests, which may render these results unreliable. These errors can stem from faulty equipment, improper calibration, or inappropriate administration by untrained personnel.
- Questioning the Validity of the Traffic Stop: The law requires that police have a valid reason to initiate a traffic stop, such as a traffic violation or evidence of impaired driving. If it can be demonstrated that the traffic stop was invalid, all subsequent evidence collected could be thrown out.
- Disputing Field Sobriety Test Results: Field sobriety tests are subjective and often depend on the arresting officer’s judgment. There are also many external factors, like weather conditions or uneven road surfaces, that can affect the test’s reliability.
- Medical Conditions or Medications: Certain medical conditions or medications can impact the results of a breathalyzer test, leading to false high readings. If you have a relevant medical condition or were on certain medications at the time of your arrest, this could be used as part of your defense.
- Improper Police Procedure: Any deviation from proper police procedures during your arrest, such as a lack of reasonable suspicion for the initial stop or inappropriate administration of sobriety tests, could be a valid point of defense.
It’s important to remember that each case is unique, and a specific defense strategy should be designed according to the individual circumstances of your case. That’s where an experienced Oakland wet reckless lawyer from Summit Defense can help by developing a robust defense strategy to secure the best possible outcome for you.
Contact Our Oakland Wet Reckless Lawyer at Summit Defense for an Initial Case Consultation
If you’re facing a DUI charge, getting legal advice right away is crucial. Our seasoned Oakland wet reckless lawyers at Summit Defense are dedicated to representing your interests and exploring all possible avenues for your defense, including negotiating for a wet reckless plea where appropriate.
Don’t hesitate to contact us today for an initial case consultation. Rely on our criminal defense attorneys to represent you.