Wet Reckless California: A New Appealing Alternative to DUI Charges

Three Important Points:

  1. Post-2021 legislative changes have made the Wet Reckless plea in Orange County a more favorable option for those facing DUI charges, largely due to reduced penalties and implications on insurance and licensing.
  2. Benefits of a Wet Reckless plea include a shorter probation period (1 year instead of 3), reduced impact on driving records (3 years instead of 10 for insurance purposes), and lighter penalties such as lower fines and maximum jail time.
  3. It’s crucial to understand the nuances of Wet Reckless convictions, such as its recognition as a prior offense if convicted of a DUI in the future, the possibility of expungement, and its effect on insurance rates.

Wet Reckless convictions have gradually emerged as a more favorable option for those charged with DUI offenses in Orange County. Historically viewed with skepticism due to its close resemblance to a DUI charge, recent legislative changes have shifted the balance, presenting the Wet Reckless plea as a considerably better alternative. This article elucidates the nuances of this charge post-2021, weighing its implications on insurance, licensing, penalties, and the broader legal context. We aim to equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision, shedding light on the finer details of the conviction, expertly addressed by Orange County DUI attorney Hieu Vu.

Wet Reckless convictions are one of those alcohol offenses you end up at after negotiations and plea bargains with teh Orange County District Attorneys in a DUI. It is not a case that can be charged from the beginning. I used to advise client’s against taking a Wet Reckless plea before 2021 and push for a Not Guilty verdict on a jury trial or push for a dry reckless because it was the same as a DUI.

However, recent law changes have a much better alternative. In this article, we will discuss the reckless driving charge with alcohol convictions in California. This article will go into the effects of a reckless driving offense with alcohol has on an insurance company and other potential exposures with taking this deal after 2021. Other considerations this article will go into include effects on licenses, the penalty(jail time)/fines, and advantages for making this deal with prosecutors in the court system.

shows a reduction to a wet reckless in Orange county court by Orange County DUI attonrey Hieu Vu
A wetreckless is a reduction from a DUI


Advantages of a Wet Reckless Plea


The probation Period is significantly Less.


Before 2021 a wet reckless plea deal was not so good. It was almost the same as a DUI. DUIs carry a 3 year period of probation. If you got a wet reckless then you would have to do a 3 year probation period as well. However a Wet Reckless after 2021 has the advantage of a shorter probation time, The time is now only 1 year of probation which can help people if they are moving out of state after a DUI.


Why Should I Plead To a Wet Reckless Charge?

There are many advantages for defendants to take a charge of a wet reckless. One of the first ones is to protect your driving record. Insurance companies will run this for determining your premiums. A DUI charge will stick on your motor vehicle report for 10 years for insurance purposes. However, a wet reckless will only stay on your motor vehicle report for 3 years. Also, instead of doing a 3, 6, or 9 month alcohol class, you will only need to do 12-hour DUI alcohol and drug education program.

In a nutshell, pleading to a wetreckless charge affects a criminal record for a much shorter time than a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge. When you plead to a DUI, the probation period is three years before you can start clearing the criminal offense from your record. That means for three years, you will have criminal convictions on your record. On the other hand, if you take a red reckless plea deal, your probation period will only be for one year. That means that after one year, you have the option to expunge the red reckless. By expunging the red reckless in this case, you will clear the conviction from your criminal record. The red reckless will not be seen by your potential employer. On top of that, there would be lesser penalties as well. The fine would be significantly less, along with the community service. Besides the lesser charge, there’s also a quicker route to a clean background check if you plead to a reckless charge. These are the main benefits of resolving your case as a Red Reckless in California.

Consequences of a “wet” plea bargain

What’s the difference between a wet reckless and a DUI?
The advantage of the wet reckless is the number of fines and your maximum exposure in court. A DUI fine is about 2100 dollars after penalty assessments. A wet reckless fine is about of that. In addition to the decrease in fines, the exposure in case of a probation violation is significantly less. A first time DUI carries with 6 months in jail max(potential jail sentence). The wet carries with it only 90 days in jail. In both cases, there are no mandatory jail time.

Do I Have To Get SR-22 Insurance If Convicted Of A Wet Reckless?

A Wet Reckless conviction in court also will not affect your driver’s license. If your case made it pass the DMV hearing without a suspension then the plea bargain will not require you to get an interlock device nor will you need an SR22. Depending on the deal you made with the prosecutor, you will have to do at least the 12-hour wet class. However, if your license got suspended by the DMV and the court did not suspend your license then you will need an SR22

If It Will Still Be Considered A Prior If I Am Convicted Of A DUI In The Future?

Yes. In addition to it being prior, you are also given a Watson advisement which puts you on notice that drinking and driving is dangerous. if you hit and kill anyone then you can be charged with murder.

It’s important to know that, even with the reckless charges, as long as it includes alcohol, it does not matter if it is a lesser offense. At the end of the day, a wet reckless is still a chargeable DUI. This means that if you get in trouble in the future for a drunk driving charge, and your blood alcohol content is over 0.08, it does not matter if the original charge was reduced from a DUI to a reckless; you will still be charged as a DUI with a prior if it has been less than 10 years. In addition to this, it is still a prior offense even if you did a misdemeanor expungement on it. The best way to avoid the prior is to wait out the 10 years.

What is the primary difference between a “Wet Reckless” conviction and a traditional DUI charge in California?

The main distinction between a “Wet Reckless” conviction and a traditional DUI charge in California lies in the probation length and penalties. A “Wet Reckless” conviction carries lighter penalties than a traditional DUI. Penalties for subsequent DUIs can surge into thousands of dollars, along with mandatory courses extending up to nine months. However, a “Wet Reckless” plea requires only a 12-hour class, and the probation period is a mere 12 months before eligibility for expungement. Additionally, a “Wet Reckless” conviction lasts only three years on your DMV driving record.

How have recent legislative changes influenced the perception and implications of a “Wet Reckless” plea in Orange County?

Recent legislation has lessened the conviction and probation terms for a “Wet Reckless” plea. Previously, it mandated a three-year probation period. Now, it’s reduced to one year, a significant reduction from the three years required for a DUI.

How does a Wet Reckless conviction affect probation periods compared to a DUI conviction?

A “Wet Reckless” conviction carries a probation period of only one year, compared to the three years associated with a DUI.

How do insurance companies view a Wet Reckless charge versus a DUI in terms of duration on a motor vehicle report?

A “Wet Reckless” conviction results in a two-point deduction for three years, whereas a DUI remains on record for 10 years.

What are the financial implications of a Wet Reckless charge in comparison to a DUI, especially regarding fines and penalties?

The fines and penalties for a “Wet Reckless” charge are substantially lower than those for a DUI. Generally, they amount to almost half of what one might pay for a DUI conviction.

Do individuals convicted of Wet Reckless need to obtain SR-22 insurance or an interlock device?

Whether someone convicted of a “Wet Reckless” needs to acquire SR-22 insurance is ambiguous. If a person wins the DMV hearing and later receives a “Wet Reckless” conviction, they don’t need the SR-22. However, if they don’t prevail at the DMV hearing and subsequently get a “Wet Reckless” conviction, they will need the SR-22.

Is it possible to expunge a Wet Reckless charge from one’s record, and if so, how does the process compare to expunging a DUI?

Yes, one can expunge a “Wet Reckless” charge from their record. The procedure resembles that of expunging a DUI: presenting character reference letters, petitioning the court, serving the District Attorney’s office, and possibly attending a hearing. The key difference is that a “Wet Reckless” can be expunged after one year, whereas a DUI requires three or five years, contingent on the jurisdiction.

How does a Wet Reckless conviction impact future DUI charges or other related offenses in California?

A “Wet Reckless” conviction has implications for any future DUI charges. If you get another DUI within 10 years, a “Wet Reckless” conviction will count as a prior offense. Furthermore, even if it falls outside the 10-year window, while it might not be primary, it will still be considered when the case is being evaluated and negotiated.

Can you get a wet reckless expunged?

Yes. It is treated the same as a DUI. You will want to complete your classes, pay your fines, and not violate probation before you apply for the 1203.4 Forms can be found here if you want to do it yourself.

Can I get a DUI reduced to a wet reckless?

Yes. This is the only way to get a reckless. Prosecutors can not charge a wet reckelss from the beginning of a case.

The Effect On Your Insurance

How many points is a wet reckless in California?

Wet violations are 2 points on your driver license

How long does a wet reckless affect your insurance?


3 years. This is different from a DUI where it would be 10 years.

How do I get a wet reckless expunged in California?


The process is the same as a DUI. You will need the CR 180 and CR 181 forms. They are available under the Orange County Lawyers Tools and Resource page.

Navigating the intricacies of Wet Reckless convictions in Orange County demands an informed perspective. From its advantages over traditional DUI charges to its implications on one’s driving record and insurance, the recent legislative changes in 2021 have made this plea a significantly more appealing choice for many. However, understanding its long-term effects, potential challenges, and nuances is crucial. Attorney Hieu Vu’s insights provide a comprehensive view of the Wet Reckless landscape, ensuring individuals can make decisions grounded in both legal expertise and practical knowledge.

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Hand down the best attorney I have ever worked with!!! My friend recommended Hieu because I needed to expunge something I did when I was young and dumb. Hieu is very humble, personable, and made me feel very comfortable. He's surprisingly funny too. Something not all lawyers are / can do. His pricing is very reasonable and he updated me on everything frequently. I highly recommend him!!!!

Lila K

I had interviewed many attorneys to discuss my very unfortunate situation that was set by someone I knew. Hieu Vu was the most honest, caring, and professional attorney with compassion and empathy I ever interviewed. HE REALLY HAD A HEART. His fees were very reasonable and he will fight for you not just for your dollars but because he cares for his clients... I would strongly recommend him if you feel your life is upside down. Things happen but we learn to become better person.

Mark K

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