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"Wet Reckless" Versus DUI California

What is the Difference Between a DUI and Wet Reckless?

A "wet reckless" is a lesser offense than a DUI, and is codified in Vehicle Code sections 23103/23103.5. Wet reckless charges are often entered in DUI cases during the plea bargaining phase, as a wet reckless can carry some substantial benefits to people. 

The differences between a DUI and a wet reckless are as follows:

  1. Shorter County Jail Sentence: Most first-offense DUIs in Riverside or San Bernardino Counties can come with jail time, typically in the range of 1-10 days. While jail time can often be served on house-arrest, work release, or negotiated away altogether, a Wet Reckless plea often carries no jail time.  
  2. Lesser Fines: The maximum fine for both a Wet Reckless and DUI is $1,000. However, with a DUI, a court will typically impose penalty assessments that can knock the $1,000 fine up to almost $3,000. A Wet Reckless fine is typically half or less of a typical first-offense DUI fine.  
  3. Shorter to No DUI Classes: On a first-offense DUI in Riverside or San Bernardino County, a court will typically impose a mandatory three-month or 9-month DUI class. However, with a Wet Reckless, a court will impose a shorter (6 week) or no DUI class at all.  This also saves money.  
  4. No Mandatory License Suspension: If you're convicted of a standard first offense DUI, the Riverside or San Bernardino County Court will send notice to the DMV and mandate that your license be suspended for 6 months (although a restricted license is available after 30 days of suspension). With a Wet Reckless, the Court is not required to send notice to the DMV and will not mandate a license suspension. However, if your blood alcohol concentration was at or above .08%, the DMV will still attempt to restrict your license regardless of the Wet Reckless plea. As such, it is very important to request a DMV hearing with respect to your license suspension with the DMV within 10 days of your arrest and to hire an attorney to fight the license suspension. If your attorney wins your DMV hearing, there will be no license suspension whatsoever.

Let us Make the Difference In Your DUI Case

Bartell, Hensel & Gressley has defended thousands of DUI cases, and our lawyers train other attorneys across the nation on DUI defense. Our firm wrote the leading treatise on DUI defense, which is used by lawyers across the country. Who you hire can make all the difference in your case. Call us today at (951) 788-2230 to get our team of DUI lawyers on your case. 

Bartell, Hensel & Gressley has offices in Temecula and Riverside, and practices throughout Riverside, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Murrieta, and Orange County. 

We understand that being accused of a crime is one of the most challenging times of your life. Rely on us to advocate for your rights and to give you the defense you deserve.


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