How Does a Wet Reckless Differ from a DUI?

For some charged with a DUI, a plea to the lesser offense of "wet reckless" can help minimize the penalties and prevent a DUI conviction.

In Los Angeles County there is a big difference between a “Wet Reckless” and a regular DUI conviction. A “Wet Reckless” is a lesser or lower level offense than a DUI (or driving under the influence) charge.

The differences also range from saving money to staying out of jail. However, a “Wet Reckless” is still a misdemeanor conviction; and it does carry some very serious long term consequences. Every DUI case is unique; and it is best to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a “Wet Reckless” conviction with an experienced DUI attorney.

No IID Required on a “Wet”

Los Angeles County is one of four counties in California where, for now, Ignition Interlock Devices (or IID’s) are required for anyone convicted of a regular DUI. An IID is a breath-testing machine that is installed in your car and prevents anyone from driving with alcohol in their system. This IID requirement for a DUI conviction will cost hundreds of dollars to install and maintain. IID’s are also unsightly and awkward, requiring multiple breath tests before and during driving. The reduction of a DUI to a “Wet Reckless” can avoid this IID requirement.

Learn more about DUI Charges and Penalties.

No Mandatory Jail on a “Wet”

All DUI charges have required mandatory minimum penalties. Many DUI charges require actual jail time. DUI’s while children are in the car, high speeds, refusals to give a chemical test, or repeat offenders are all facing mandatory time behind bars. Getting a DUI reduced to a Wet Reckless avoids the mandatory jail time; and opens up options that can help avoid a long and costly trial, save jobs, and help get people back to their regular life quickly and quietly.

Cleaner Record

A reduced charge like a “Wet Reckless” looks better on your record. It is not a DUI conviction, and people looking at your record will know that the case was not as serious as a DUI. Also, your insurance company will look at a “Wet Reckless” very differently than a full blown DUI conviction. With the proper handling of a DUI case, and a reduction to a lesser offense, like a “Wet Reckless”, you could save thousands of dollars in insurance premiums alone.

Learn more about Living with DUI.

Fines, Classes and Probation

Getting a DUI reduced to a “Wet Reckless” will also save your money on court fines, classes, and probation. A “Wet Reckless” does not have the same mandatory or required penalties that a DUI would. A reduction to a “Wet Reckless” will likely save you hundreds of dollars in fines and fees over a regular DUI. And…a “Wet Reckless” will save you hundreds more because you will not have to take the same alcohol education classes.

A “Wet Reckless” also does not have the same mandatory probation period. A shorter probation period helps get you back to your normal life faster without big brother keeping such a close eye on you. It also allows your attorney to request an expungement earlier.

A “Wet Reckless” is similar to a DUI

A “Wet Reckless,” although better then a DUI, is a related charge; and it still has a very big drawback. A “Wet Reckless” will count as a DUI if you get another DUI in the future. A “Wet Reckless” is priorable, or can be used to enhance a future DUI conviction. So, a first time DUI reduced to a “Wet Reckless” conviction today will likely cause a future DUI conviction to be viewed as a second time DUI. The period of time a “Wet Reckless” will stay on the record to increase a future DUI charge is currently ten years. This is a very big drawback.

Is a “Wet Reckless” in my best interest?

A “Wet Reckless” may or may not be in your best interest. Each and every DUI case is unique. A “Wet Reckless” may be a great deal, or it could prove to be a poor choice. The only way to know what the right deal is for you would be to consult with an experienced and skilled DUI defense attorney; and to review all of the facts of your case.

Every DUI case is unique, and this article does not constitute legal advice or form an attorney client relationship.

Learn more about Getting Help for a DUI.

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