Why Is a 'Wet Reckless' (VC 23103) Better Than a DUI?
The term “wet reckless” refers to a plea bargained charge of violating California Vehicle Code § 23103 pursuant to § 23103.5. Such a code section, incidentally, is not one for which you can be arrested: it is only offered as a plea bargained settlement for one charged with DUI (Vehicle Code § 23152(a) and/or (b)). A “wet” is available both for alcohol-related driving under the influence charges and drug-related driving charges.The Reader’s Digest Version: A “wet reckless,” also known as a conviction for violating Vehicle Code § 23103 pursuant to Vehicle Code § 23103.5, is better than a conviction for DUI for two big reasons: a wet reckless conviction does not cause the DMV to demand installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) and defendant can correctly state that the case was resolved with all DUI charges dismissed.
In Los Angeles County, which is subject to the ignition interlock device (IID) pilot program, a “wet” is advantageous to a DUI on the further ground that the a “wet” will not trigger the requirement to install an IID on one’s car as a condition of reinstating one’s license or receiving a restricted license. If one pleads to a DUI, the court will notify the DMV, which then notifies the client that he or she must show proof of installation of an IID to restore their driving privileges or at least receive a restricted license.
A second wet reckless within ten years also requires a nine-month DUI program, rather than an 18 month (SB38) program.
A wet reckless also may not affect certain professional licenses.
Not everyone is eligible for a “wet reckless.” Usually, the alleged BAC must be very close to 0.08% and there must be problems with the facts or the law for the prosecutor. Also, the client usually must be a first time offender and pass “the attitude test,” i.e. the client was obedient and respectful to the officer, rather than uncooperative and argumentative. When the client is a repeat offender, prosecutors feel pressure not to give breaks, but a good set of facts can persuade the prosecutor to consider a plea bargain to a “wet” rather than taking a chance of losing at trial.
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