Upon facing a DUI arrest, most defendants are subject to the stringent penalties and requirements issued in a DUI conviction. However, you can involve the prosecutor in your case to offer more friendly options that reduce your arrests' consequences. You can receive a wet reckless charge reduction among the mitigated charges that allows you to face lesser punishments. Despite the availability of a wet reckless entry, you will have to meet specific criteria specified by the judge before the bargain can alter your final verdict. Hence, negotiating for a wet reckless charge in place of regular DUI charges requires professional assistance from a criminal defense attorney.
With a well-experienced defense lawyer by your side, the prosecutor will allow a plea bargain to reduce your DUI charges to wet recklessness and obtain approval to proceed from the judge. At The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney, we focus on giving our Los Angeles, California clients the best criminal defense services for each case. Thanks to our skilled team of attorneys, we have worked on numerous DUI cases and organized negotiations that led to wet reckless charges for a less severe case outcome.
Understanding a Wet Reckless Charge
Typically, most DUI cases lead to formal court proceedings, whereby the defendant pleads 'guilty or 'not guilty' to the stated DUI offenses. After undergoing trial, the judge then makes a final decision based on whether the defendant is guilty of the presented charges. The subsequent penalties issued in DUIs are severe and may be subject to enhancements, especially when your case circumstances are aggravated.
Therefore, you may decide to seek an alternative for the DUI charges by negotiating with a prosecutor. Usually, your criminal defense lawyer will guide such negotiations, primarily because he/she has more experience and can therefore interact with the prosecutor to get you the best deal.
The negotiations concerning your DUI charges may take a short period, especially if your lawyer has prepared persuasive details and documents to show your eligibility for a charge reduction. Hence, if your attorney successfully convinces the prosecutor to settle for lower charges, you will receive a wet reckless entry.
Section 23103.5 of the California Vehicle Code provides for your lawyer and prosecutor's allowance to settle for a wet reckless charge after successful negotiations. In this case, negotiations are successful if you, as the defendant and the prosecutor, agree to the terms of the new proposed changes.
Moreover, the section requires the prosecutor to notify the court of your settlement and seek approval from the presiding judge. Hence, a wet reckless bargain is only valid if the court recognizes it and approves your charge records' change.
Once the court approves your plea bargain, you may proceed to take a plea in the subsequent proceedings. You will plead guilty to reckless driving during the plea taking court session, as it is the general charge reduction authorized under section 23103.5.
Under section 23103.5, the wet reckless charge reduction reduces DUI offenses listed under section 23152(a) and (b). The section creates the offense of driving under the influence, which arises when a motorist operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08% or more.
Therefore, once you plead guilty for reckless driving conviction, you are set to face the subsequent penalties mitigated compared to DUI punishments. Usually, reckless driving convictions arise after such plea bargains, or when you face arrest for other offenses related to recklessness on the road.
However, it helps to distinguish between wet reckless and dry reckless offenses, mainly because you will only be eligible for wet reckless. Your criminal records will still indicate the drug or alcohol use that caused arrest under a wet reckless charge. Thus, any person looking through your criminal records will understand that your recklessness arose from abusing alcohol or drugs, and can therefore relate it to a DUI.
Conversely, a dry reckless entry does not include using drugs or alcohol in the criminal record notes, meaning that people looking through your records cannot infer any drug-related offenses.
It would help if you remembered that negotiations to drop DUI charges and replace them with a wet reckless entry should occur before the plea taking court session. This way, you can understand the prosecutor's demands as listed in the plea agreement and discuss them with your lawyer to avoid settling for an unfair deal.
Determining Whether a Wet Reckless Plea Bargain is the Best for You
Once your lawyer or the prosecutor handling your case brings up a wet reckless bargain, it would help you assess it and determine whether it benefits your case. In most situations, the charge reduction helps reduce case outcomes significantly, while in others, the difference between regular DUI and wet reckless penalties is not quite apparent.
As a result, you want to ensure that you fit the criteria for requesting the plea bargain and that it will benefit your matter. Some of the eligibility criteria considered in court are:
Your Blood Alcohol Concentration During Arrest
Following a logical approach, you can quickly determine whether you are likely to face additional penalties for your DUI offense based on your BAC levels during the arrest. Section 23152 gives a BAC limit of 0.08%, meaning that any readings above the recommended percentage amount to a DUI violation.
Hence, if the breath test results indicate a higher BAC level of over 0.15%, you will have grossly violated the DUI regulations, making it more difficult for you to receive a plea bargain option from the prosecutor.
Alternatively, if your BAC levels were below the 0.08% mark, yet you still faced arrest, you stand a decent chance of negotiating for the deal and landing a wet reckless charge in place of regular DUI offenses. Therefore, you need to work closely with your criminal defense lawyer to obtain accurate and valid copies of your blood or breath tests.
When you present the test results during preliminary hearings to determine your eligibility for a plea bargain, your case will have proper backing to support your requests. In return, you will have a better assurance of receiving the plea bargain that sets you off to face lower punitive orders, unlike with DUI charges.
Inconsistency or Lack of Clarity in the Prosecutor's Case
Moreover, your case may have already proceeded into the trial as a DUI charge, meaning that the prosecutor must present sufficient evidence to prosecute you. Usually, criminal cases, including DUI trials, place the prosecutor's burden to show that you are guilty of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
Consequently, the prosecutor should present credible and persuasive evidence in court to prove that you engaged in each of the elements of the crime required before issuing the judge's verdict. While the requirements may seem attainable, the prosecutor is likely to encounter several hardships, to your advantage.
Firstly, the rules advocating for a fair trial dictate that proving a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt must include providing adequate proof for each crime element. Hence, depending on the DUI charges you face, the prosecutor should source admissible evidence to support his/her claims. The task may become arduous when the crime elements require precise information that is inaccessible to the prosecutor.
For example, suppose the prosecution team cannot show that the arresting police officers had probable cause to stop you and apprehend you. In that case, the case may fall entirely based on a failure to prove even one crime element.
Additionally, the prosecutor's requirements for a proper case extend to ensuring that all procedures leading up to trial are observed, to uphold a fair trial process. Hence, if your criminal defense lawyer can prove that you suffered under procedural wrongdoing, you can use the facts to support your requests for a plea bargain.
For example, the process that follows arrest should guide the police officers and prosecutor in directing you to appear in court on time. Usually, an arrested person should face a court arraignment within twenty-four hours of arrest. Thus, if the officers delayed your arraignment and failed to observe other guidelines, you can raise the concerns when justifying your right to a charge reduction.
The judge will also consider any particular mitigating factors that arise in your case. A mitigating factor is a circumstance that reduces the scrutiny of your criminal indulgence because it yields positive outcomes. Additionally, mitigating factors may also apply where several wrongdoings that were not your fault caused inconveniences to your case.
For example, if repeated tests indicate that the BAC levels collected after your first arrest were wrong, you are entitled to a charge reduction. The plea bargain should be available for your use because of the inconvenience you suffered despite having an acceptable BAC level.
If information emerges concerning police misconduct and other unlawful activities that hindered a fair investigation, you will also have the upper hand in securing a wet reckless charge. Police misconduct involves different activities that aim at obtaining self-incriminating evidence forcefully from an arrested person. Additionally, the misconduct extends to forging or changing police reports and test results to align with an ulterior motive.
Having a Clear Criminal Record
First-time offenders often have better chances of securing a plea bargain resulting in a wet reckless charge, as they have a clear criminal record. The rationale behind the ease of obtaining the reduced charge is that the first time offender does not pose an immediate threat or risk of engaging in criminal activities than repeat offenders.
However, you can still proceed with your plea bargain negotiations and successfully obtain a wet reckless charge, even with past convictions. Here, your lawyer's best argument point will be showing that you have not faced past convictions related to drug or alcohol abuse.
Providing supporting evidence is always advisable because it helps strengthen your case and validate your claims. Therefore, your lawyer can contact the department of justice and obtain certified copies of your criminal record as proof of having few to no drug-related convictions.
Benefits of Receiving a Wet Reckless Plea Bargain
Several benefits are available after receiving a plea bargain, depending on your case's circumstances and facts. When the judge clears you to receive a wet reckless charge reduction, he/she will dismiss the initial DUI charges you faced and notify the California Department of Motor Vehicles about the change in convictions.
Your defense attorney should follow up on the information passed to the DMV to confirm that their records indicate a wet reckless entry and not a DUI conviction to avoid future inconsistencies in the documents. Once the DMV receives the information, you will be ready to face conviction and follow through with the court orders. Benefits of obtaining a wet reckless charge are:
You Undergo a Shorter Probation Period
In most DUI convictions, a defendant will opt for probation if offered the choice in place of spending time in jail. Probationary beliefs are considerably more manageable for most people, primarily because you retain your freedom as long as you adhere to the court guidelines issued.
Subsequently, wet reckless charge reductions give you an easier time when completing the probation period, as the duration is significantly shorter compared to regular DUI convictions. Hence, you can finish the probationary terms and continue leading an everyday life free from mandatory scrutiny.
A wet reckless probation period may last between one to two years, depending on your case. Conversely, a DUI probation period may take three to five years to complete, making it more tasking for you to follow through with all probationary requirements.
When the court orders you to join a probation program, the judge appoints a probation officer who supervises your progress throughout the period. Moreover, you will have to report to your probation officer upon any summons to give details of your progress and any experienced setbacks.
The most important pointer to remember when beginning a probation period is to comply with all rules as directed by the court, as a default can lead to jail convictions. Therefore, you will have to submit to random drug or alcohol tests that aim at preventing you from driving under the influence again.
On top of this, you should also undertake mandatory restitution payments, if any, to affected victims of your DUI offense. Mandatory therapy sessions may also apply to your case, whereby you will undergo rehabilitative sessions if the court suspects you of addiction.
The court can also order you to appear regularly to check on your progress, regardless of your schedule. Hence, it would be best if you also worked to avail yourself of the court sessions to avoid the risk of facing enhanced penalties, including jail sentences.
These, among many other requirements issued during a probation program, may easily take a toll on you, especially if you still have to continue with your regular daily routine. Hence, having a reduced probation period thanks to a wet reckless charge will significantly benefit your progress.
Furthermore, you will find it easier to comply with court requirements during the shortened probation time, meaning that you have better chances of completing your probation problem-free. In return, you will access expungement orders more easily to clear your records of the conviction.
You Receive a Shorter Jail Sentence
Additionally, you will benefit from the reduced jail sentences available in wet reckless charges than a DUI offense charge. Naturally, you want a shorter jail term to allow you to get back to your loved ones and daily routine as soon as possible.
In a wet reckless conviction, you will face a maximum of three months in jail, which the judge can adjust depending on the circumstances of your DUI case. Hence, you are eligible to face shorter sentences than the three months, mostly if you have mitigated factors in your case.
On the other hand, DUI jail sentences vary depending on whether you are a first time or subsequent offender. Also, the judge may enhance your penalties if any aggravating factors play a role in your case. Hence, you could face six months for a first-time offense and up to one year in a county jail for a second or third time DUI offense.
When comparing the two maximum jail sentences, the wet reckless price reduction, therefore, provides a more lenient alternative for you. Hence, after qualifying for the plea bargain, your attorney can present arguments to persuade the judge to issue a shorter jail sentence.
You Evade Compulsory Commercial License Suspensions
If you are a commercial driver who faced DUI charges, reducing them to wet recklessness protects you from a mandatory license suspension. The alternative penalties in regular DUI penalties live little wiggle room for your defense attorney to negotiate and avoid a suspension because of the stringent regulations.
However, the protection from a license suspension is not applicable in all cases that convert DUI charges to wet recklessness. Where you have surpassed the DMV point limit, you will still face license suspension.
California applies a point system in monitoring traffic offenses to identify repeat offenders and impose additional fines and penalties on them. Hence, each traffic offense attracts different point scores on your record. For example, you will accumulate two points for facing a wet reckless conviction. If your point record gets too many points within specific time frames, you will be eligible for additional punitive measures.
In this case, you, as a commercial driver, will not evade a license suspension if you accumulate four points or more within a year. Additionally, getting six or more points within two years also disqualified you from avoiding a suspension. The trend continues, with defendants having eight or more points within three years losing out on protection from license suspension as well.
Payment of Less Fines
Similarly, you will pay fewer fines under a wet reckless conviction, compared to usual DUI penalties. Under the wet reckless conviction, you are eligible to pay a maximum of $1000 in fines.
If you face DUI convictions, the fines escalate depending on various factors, meaning you may have to pay up to $3000. Hence, the significant margin between the two convictions shows the importance of advocating for a wet reckless charge reduction if possible.
Shorter DUI School Durations
The judge presiding over your case may also order you to undergo a DUI school program as a corrective procedure for your offense. Usually, the requirement can be quite tasking, mainly because it requires you to balance your personal life and create time to attend the sessions.
As a result, having to attend the school for a shorter period is advantageous because it saves you from the challenges of completing your course with minimal absences. Under a wet reckless conviction, you will take DUI classes for up to six weeks. However, you may face a longer duration of up to nine months, especially if you have previous convictions.
While wet reckless charge reductions are highly beneficial for you, it is necessary to remember that the offense is priorable, meaning that it will act retrospectively in future convictions. Therefore, if you face subsequent DUI or reckless driving charges, having similar past convictions can negatively affect your case.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
When you face a DUI arrest, you would prefer taking an alternative route that provides less severe punitive orders, to avoid facing additional challenges. Moreover, it also helps fight for a charge reduction when you genuinely believe that you faced wrongful arrest or an unfair criminal justice process. Hence, negotiating for a wet reckless charge reduction should be a priority for you after a DUI arrest to help you evade the highly taxing DUI penalties.
We at The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney dedicate ourselves to providing reliable and professional legal support for your DUI case. Our diligence and belief in teamwork also help us create the best solutions for your case, as we advocate for a charge reduction. We understand the challenges and stress that come with an arrest and trial process, so we offer personalized services to cater to individual needs. If you require criminal defense services for a DUI charge in Los Angeles, California, call us today at 310-564-2605.