Difference between wet and reckless and DUI? 5 Answers as of September 16, 2010

What is the difference between a wet and reckless and a DUI in California? My son was pulled over while driving on the freeway late at night. He said he had a few drinks earlier. The police said that he was on the border between a DUI and wet and reckless and that they would bring charges for one of them.

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Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
In essence, one sounds better than the other.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/16/2010
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
A wet reckless is somewhat of a fiction. No one is ever charged with a wet reckless. Generally, it is a charge that is the result of a plea bargain where the prosecutor reduces the DUI based on mitigating circumstances such as a relatively low BA.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/16/2010
Law Office of Joe Dane
Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
Both count as a DUI for prior purposes, but a wet reckless means lower fines and less obligation in classes for the DMV potentially. The police cannot charge a wet reckless though. Any charges are up to the prosecution. If they think they have enough, they will charge a DUI. They can offer to reduce it to a wet reckless, but it is not a stand-alone charge. If the case is really all that "borderlne" an attorney may be able to get it down to a dry reckless which doesn't carry any of the priorability or other consequences of a DUI. Will it happen in this case? That depends on all the facts, but is certainly worth a review by an attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/15/2010
Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
A wet reckless is reckless driving involving the use of alcohol. There is not a big difference between a wet reckless and a DUI; although a wet reckless is better. A wet reckless has a lower fine (fines and fees of about $900 as opposed to $1900). There is no jail time for a wet reckless and there could be a nominal amount of jail time for a DUI. Also, the court usually imposes a shorter drunk driving class for a reckless driving conviction than a DUI conviction. However, this can by a Pyrrhic victory, as DMV may require the same class. It seems to me that if the cop of all people thinks this is a borderline DUI your son probably has a very good case. Feel free to contact me if he needs criminal defense representation. Also, make sure to request a DMV hearing right away if your son has been notified his driver's license is going to be suspended.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/15/2010
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
The name. Not much else as far as the courts and insurance companies are concerned. A wet reckless counts as a prior for any subsequent DUI. The penalties sought by the court are generally about the same.

If he is serious about hiring counsel to help him, feel free to contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/15/2010
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