When it comes to DUI’s I hear a lot of people talking about wet reckless. They’re not necessarily that much better than a DUI, although if I had my choice between a DUI and a wet reckless, obviously I would pick a wet reckless. But there’s other charges that are better than a wet reckless. For example, a dry reckless is much better because it doesn’t involve alcohol, there’s less punishment, it doesn’t trigger a number of things and it’s not priorable.
Priorability has to do with getting a wet reckless and then in the future you get another DUI within ten years, then it would count as a second-time DUI. So, that makes the wet reckless priorable and obviously, that’s not something you want to have on your record. Insurance companies will not look favorably on you if you have a wet reckless on your record. It’s probably going to cause your insurance rate to go up.
In my opinion, although a wet reckless is definitely better than a DUI — and I would rather have that on my record than a DUI in Los Angeles — there are still other charges related to DUI’s that you’d rather have on your record than a wet reckless. In addition to a dry reckless, a speed contest would be a much better charge in Los Angeles than a wet reckless.
Then the next question is, if you’re not able to get a dry reckless or speed contest or something less than a DUI, how could you get a wet reckless?
What it really boils down to — the factors that I’ve seen in practicing DUI defense over the course of the last twenty-five years is — whether you have any prior criminal record involving bad driving or any record that involves a DUI.
If you do, it’s going to make it a lot more difficult to get a wet reckless. On the other hand, if you have a clean record and your blood alcohol level was close to the legal limit, then you’re in a much stronger position to argue for a wet reckless.
The range, in general — because it varies depending on a bunch of different factors — but being a .10, .11, .12 and not having any record and not doing anything egregious during your stop for a DUI, puts you in a much stronger position to be able to argue for a wet reckless.
The next question that we probably see when we deal with these types of offenses is, what are the punishments related to wet reckless’ in Los Angeles. Basically, if you are convicted of a wet reckless, the punishment is negotiable, meaning the prosecutors can offer whatever they want.
Sometimes they say, we gave you something better than a DUI and therefore, we are not going to change the punishment. You’re still going to do a fine that’s $390 plus penalty assessment. You’re still going to do the three-month alcohol program.
You’re still going to be on probation for three years, but we will give you that wet reckless so your record looks a little bit better than if you got a full-fledged DUI in Los Angeles County.
So, that is one thing that the prosecutors can do when it comes to a wet reckless conviction. Another thing is they can give you a smaller fine. Instead of $390 plus penalty assessment — which works its way out to about $2,000, they could give you $240 plus penalty assessment which saves you a significant amount of money once they tack that 200% penalty assessment on you related to your DUI matter.
So, one area they could help you is with the fine. They could also put you on less probation. For example, they could put you on a two year or one year probation if the prosecutors were so inclined. That would obviously be better than the typical three to five year probation that comes along with a first-time DUI.
Typically, you’re not going to get jail time on a first-time DUI in Los Angeles. But, if it’s a second-time DUI, you are going to get mandatory jail time. You could avoid that jail time by getting wet reckless. That’s probably one of the biggest benefits that I see that a wet reckless gives you in Los Angeles — is avoiding jail time for a second offense.
So, that’s one area that you can save as far as a wet reckless goes. Also, you could sometimes avoid having to do the alcohol program when it comes to a wet reckless conviction. The only time you’ll need to do the alcohol program is if you want to get your driver’s license back. Then you’ll have to do it — even if you get a wet reckless and no license suspension.
So, the bottom line is, if you have a situation where you’re arrested for a DUI and you need some help. Give me call. We’ll sit down and strategize how to get you the lowest possible resolution. If a dismissal is in the cards for you, we’ll try to get that. If not, we’ll try to get you something lower than a first-offense DUI in Los Angeles, and if the wet reckless is the right thing to get based on your circumstances, that’s what we will shoot for.