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Reducing a California DUI Charge to a “Wet Reckless”

Dec 9, 2017 | Firm News

Experienced California DUI Attorney Michael A. Scafiddi Explains a “Wet Reckless”

After an arrest for a DUI, one of the very first questions I am asked is whether the case can be reduced to a “wet reckless.” A charge of a wet reckless is a lesser offense than a traditional DUI, which can carry a tremendous social stigma, heavy fines, and a six-month license suspension. Amongst other benefits, a “wet reckless” does not count as a first time DUI, has reduced fines, a shorter probation period, no automatic license revocation, and in many cases shorter classes.

What is a “Wet Reckless” Charge?

If you are convicted of a “wet reckless,” you are actually being convicted of the lesser charge of “reckless driving involving alcohol.” No one is ever initially charged with or arrested for a “wet reckless.” It is a charge reduction that the District Attorney or City Attorney prosecuting your case can offer a defendant post-arrest, not an initial charge that the police make at the time of arrest.

Why would a case be reduced to a Wet Reckless?

A “wet reckless” offer is often the result of the prosecutor recognizing that there is some issue with the state’s case; for example, the underlying reason that the police stopped you may be suspect, or there may be a flaw in how your blood alcohol was seized. This reduction is also frequently offered when your blood alcohol level is right at the .08 legal limit. Regardless of the reason, it is usually recognition that there is a problem in your case that may not be fatal, but that may impede the state’s ability to convict you at trial.

Should You Always Accept the D.A.’s “wet reckless” Offer?

Maybe, maybe not. You may be offered a “wet reckless” because your case has a minor weakness, and you are a first time offender. However, it could also be the first of further reductions. With careful scrutiny of your case by an experienced DUI attorney, those reductions are possible, as is a complete dismissal. So in some cases, a “wet reckless” is too good of an offer to refuse, but in other cases you would be better served by having your attorney negotiate for an even better outcome. A strong negotiation position depends on the attorney’s ability to challenge your stop, scrutinize the police officer’s credibility, and find other weaknesses that may be present. In short, a “wet reckless” is always better than a DUI, but it may be an indication that an even lesser charge or dismissal is warranted. You will need the assistance of an attorney to decide which is more probable in your case.

Why You Need an Attorney if Arrested and Charged For DUI in California

It is a serious situation if you or a loved one is arrested for DUI, so call an experienced California DUI attorney immediately upon arrest. “Wet reckless” charge reductions do not happen by accident, they are usually the result of a skilled attorney finding flaws in the state’s case and alerting the D.A. to them.  Even if you are offered a “wet reckless,” your license can still be suspended by the DMV unless you request a DMV hearing within a specified time limit (within ten days of your arrest). You need experience by your side when these difficult decisions arise.

If you are arrested for DUI, you do not have much time to protect yourself. The most important thing to remember is that the law entitles you to representation by an attorney.  Given the serious penalties for DUI, you cannot take your chances and go it alone.

Free DUI Defense Case Analysis and Consultation

If you or a family member has been accused of DUI, contact experienced California criminal defense attorney Michael A. Scafiddi immediately.  You have rights. Do not let an arrest for DUI ruin your career, your livelihood, or your family.  Call attorney Scafiddi at 1-909-381-1000 now to protect your rights.