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“Wet Reckless” Convictions in DUI/DWI Cases

“Wet Reckless” Convictions in DUI/DWI Cases

In some states, motorists who have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) may be able to plea bargain the charge down to a wet reckless charge. A wet reckless charge is considered a lesser charge than a DUI or DWI. In addition, a wet reckless charge usually carries a sentence of probation rather than jail time, and the fines involved are usually lower. Although the name of the offense is “wet reckless,” there is no requirement that there is any reckless driving.

Generally, a DUI or DWI charge can only be pled down to a wet reckless charge if the defendant's blood alcohol level was on the borderline of being legally intoxicated. However, in California, a wet reckless charge can exist even if the defendant has prior drunk driving convictions or even if there was property damage involved in the charge.

A motorist who pleads guilty to a wet reckless charge will still be viewed as having received a prior DUI or DWI conviction if the motorist receives another DUI arrest within a certain period of time, usually seven to ten years. In other words, if a motorist is subsequently convicted for a later DUI, the DUI will be considered a second offense for sentencing purposes. Frequently, insurance companies also treat wet reckless convictions the same as DUI or DWI convictions.

If you have been charged with drunk driving offense, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal law attorney. An experienced attorney can advise you on how to proceed in order to best protect your legal rights.

Copyright 2014 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.