A drunk driving charge can significantly impact all aspects of your life. In certain situations, your attorney may be able to reduce the DUI charge to a reckless driving charge. There are two types of reckless driving charges related to a drunk driving prosecution: “wet reckless driving” and “dry reckless driving.” This article discusses each of these reckless driving charges in more detail.
Wet Reckless Driving
California Vehicle Code § 23103.5 sets the standard for a wet reckless driving as part of a plea bargain from an original DUI charge. A wet reckless driving charge defines a situation where alcohol was involved while the motorist engaged in reckless driving. You cannot be originally charged with a wet reckless driving charge. Put more simply, this charge may only be given as part of a plea bargain with a state prosecutor when he or she believes that there are problems with your case and does not want to roll the dice with a jury trial. The court cannot impose a wet reckless driving charge.
Although a wet reckless driving charge has a lighter sentence than a DUI conviction, the penalties can nevertheless be serious. Penalties include jail time, fines, loss of driving privileges and enrollment in alcohol educational programs. The bottom line is that a wet reckless driving charge is functionally equivalent to a drunk driving conviction for two main reasons:
- The charge is priorable, meaning that it can be considered a prior conviction to increase a punishment, similar as if you had been convicted of a DUI.
- Your insurance carrier will consider a wet reckless driving charge the same as a drunk driving conviction for insurance purposes.
Dry Reckless Driving
A dry reckless driving charge involves no presence of alcohol. Under California Vehicle Code § 23103, a dry reckless driving charge is considered a misdemeanor. In some cases, an experienced attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to reduce a drunk driving charge to a dry reckless.
The penalties for a dry reckless charge include possibility of jail time, fines and probation. The main thing that sets a dry reckless driving charge from a wet reckless driving charge is that it is not “priorable.” This means that if you are given this charge, it will not be treated as a DUI if you are arrested for any subsequent drunk driving charges.
Call an Experienced Stockton Reckless Driving Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one is facing a reckless driving charge or facing a drunk driving charge and may be eligible for a reduction to either a wet or dry reckless driving charge, it is important to seek immediate legal assistance from a knowledgeable defense attorney. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with reckless driving defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call us at (209) 323‐5558 or (559) 449‐1447, or complete our online form.