What is It?
Wet and reckless is reckless driving involving alcohol or drugs. More importantly, it is a lower charge than a DUI and therefore carries lighter penalties, including shorter probation, a shorter DUI class, a smaller fine, and no immigration consequences.
How do I get a wet and reckless?
The prosecution must agree to resolve your case for a charge of reckless driving. The prosecutor bases this decision on the following factors:
Low Blood Alcohol Content
Typically prosecutors offices have a standard blood alcohol range for wet and reckless ranging from .08-.11% BAC. The exact range depends on the county, and even within a county there are often different standards. Sometimes the prosecutor is willing to offer a wet reckless outside of the standard range.
Errors in the DUI Investigation
If law enforcement made errors during the DUI investigation, the prosecutor may offer a wet and reckless charge.
Demonstrating to the prosecutor that you have taken significant steps toward rehabilitation and no longer present a risk of driving under the influence is another way to obtain leniency. In addition, the facts of your case may provide a reason for leniency. For example, if law enforcement did not observe you driving. However, if your BAC was over .15%, it is very likely that the prosecutor will want you to plead to a DUI charge.
Wet and Reckless vs. Dry and Reckless
A dry and reckless does not involve the use of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, a dry and reckless is not considered a prior DUI in the case of subsequent DUIs.
Wet and Reckless vs. DUI Conviction
|Probation||1 year||3-5 years|
|Maximum Fine||$1,000||$1,000 (additional fees apply and vary by county)|
|DUI Class||12 hr (varies by county)||3-9 months depending on county and BAC|
|DACA||No impact||Denial of DACA renewal|
|Considered a Prior DUI||Yes||Yes|
|Additional License Suspension||No||Yes|
Your criminal record will show that you were not convicted of a DUI (A DUI arrest will be on your record if law enforcement took your fingerprints). However, if you are arrested and charged with a subsequent DUI, a wet reckless conviction will be considered a prior DUI. If your second DUI results in a conviction, you will be punished as if you were convicted of DUI on your first case.
The DMV suspends your license if your BAC is over .08% and you fail to contest the suspension or you are found guilty after a DMV hearing. The DMV adds additional time to the suspension for a DUI conviction from court. However, the DMV does not add any time to the suspension for a wet and reckless conviction.
Unlike a DUI, a wet and reckless has no impact on DACA protection. A DUI conviction is a bar to DACA relief. However, once a DUI conviction is expunged, it a non-conviction for DACA purposes. Nonetheless, USCIS may still consider an arrest for a DUI offense as a negative discretionary factor in evaluating whether to grant or deny DACA.