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The Value of a Wet Reckless Plea

By San Diego Attorney on October 14, 2020

When you are charged with a DUI in San Diego, you may automatically assume that the charges against you are set in stone. However, DUIs are complicated cases, and defendants have several options that can allow them to avoid significant prison time and fines. This will all depend on the specific evidence in your case and the effectiveness of your attorney, but you may be able to avoid a charge with a plea of wet reckless.

What Does Wet Reckless Mean?

A plea of wet reckless is a legal option in a DUI case that is often presented by the prosecution. Typically, if the blood alcohol level (BAC) was below 0.08% at the time of your arrest, then the prosecution may find it difficult to land a full conviction against you. This is because California technically has two DUI laws: driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

In cases where your BAC is lower than 0.08%, the prosecution may have a harder time landing a full conviction, as they will have to use additional evidence such as police testimony. If your attorney can discredit that testimony, the prosecution may have a difficult time landing a full conviction. At this point, they may offer you a plea of wet reckless.

With a plea of wet reckless, you will be offered the chance to admit that you were under the influence of alcohol (“wet”) while driving recklessly. Unlike a full DUI conviction, a wet reckless plea only involves between five to 90 days in jail and a fine as low as $145. In addition, there is no court-ordered minimum license suspension or ignition lock system. While the DMV may still require these restrictions, your attorney may be able to defend you in a DMV hearing in Vista or San Diego and protect your driving rights. However, you may still have to attend a substance abuse program.

Who Can Make a Plea?

Wet reckless pleas are generally only offered to first-time offenders who have no prior convictions and who have a BAC of below or near 0.08%. Though prosecutors rarely offer this option to second-time offenders, it is not impossible. It will ultimately come down to the nature of your previous charges, the amount of evidence against you, and the strength of the prosecution’s argument.

However, this may not be your only option. A plea is typically offered when the prosecution knows they are at a disadvantage, which means your attorney could have your case dismissed altogether. Ultimately, it is your decision whether you want to enter a wet reckless plea or not, but your attorney may also be able to argue in a trial that:

  • The police testimony is inconsistent
  • You only showed the objective signs of a DUI
  • The breathalyzer test was improperly administered and unreliable
  • There is insufficient evidence to convict you

In addition, your attorney may be able to get you a plea of dry reckless. Unlike wet reckless, dry reckless does not involve alcohol use and is only related to reckless driving. It is also not a priorable, meaning it will not affect a future DUI case against you.

Being offered a plea of wet reckless will come down to the capabilities of your attorney. If you work with the team at jD LAW, a skilled and experienced San Diego DUI defense lawyer could effectively negotiate a plea of wet reckless before your trial or have your charges completely dismissed with a thorough defense strategy. Your best option is to pick up the phone and contact jD LAW at (760) 630-2000 for a free initial consultation to discuss your case further.

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