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What Is Wet and Reckless in California?

Wet and Reckless in California
Having a DUI conviction on your permanent record isn’t great, especially if you were convicted young. You don’t want that DUI hanging over your head, and neither do we. Luckily, there’s a lesser conviction option known as a wet reckless. This common California DUI charge reduction can be beneficial to anyone facing a DUI charge.

What is wet and reckless in California?

Wet reckless driving is just another way to describe the legal charge of reckless driving. Reckless driving refers to endangering others when driving. Reckless driving is often called dry reckless because you don’t have to be drunk or under the influence of a substance to be convicted of reckless driving.   Wet reckless implies intoxication or being under the influence of a drug. You cannot be convicted of wet reckless driving initially; it is a reduced sentence that can come after you are convicted of a DUI. California DUI charges can be reduced to a wet reckless conviction if certain requirements are met:  
  • No prior record: If you haven’t been convicted or arrested previously, you at least qualify for a DUI reduction.
  • No accident occurred: No one can have been injured or harmed at the time you were arrested.
  • Borderline drug or alcohol levels: The amount of alcohol or drugs in your system makes a difference. If that amount was borderline illegal, and you meet the other two qualifications, you have a shot at a charge reduction.

Wet and reckless charge vs. a DUI

There are certain advantages and disadvantages associated with a wet and reckless charge.   In addition to not having a DUI conviction on your permanent record, a wet reckless has these additional advantages:  
  • Lower fines: Fines, in general, are hefty, but a DUI can ring in at $3,000 or more while a wet reckless is a maximum of $1,000.
  • Shorter jail time: When you’re first convicted of a DUI, jail time can be up to six months. A second offense, up to a year. A wet reckless California charge has a maximum sentence of 90 days and is often even less than that.  
  • No mandatory license suspension: If you’re convicted with a first offense DUI, your license will be suspended for 6 months, and the suspension goes up if you incur other DUIs. There is no such suspension for a wet reckless charge.
  • Shorter probation: A wet reckless probation lasts one to two years.

Consequences of a Wet Reckless in California

Having your charge reduced to a wet reckless will still lose you some points and be marked on your driver’s license record. Other disadvantages include:
  • Prior DUI: If you are arrested for another DUI after receiving a previous wet reckless charge, the wet reckless will be counted as a previous DUI, making your fines and license suspension greater.
  • Fight for license: Even with a wet reckless conviction, you’ll still have to request a hearing for your license because it will have been suspended when you were initially arrested for a DUI.
  • Insurance: Your insurance rates will most likely increase.
  Contact one of our lawyers today with any questions or to make an appointment to see if we can get your DUI reduced to a wet and reckless charge.  

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Bradley Corbett

Bradley Corbett

Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.

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