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What is the exact difference between a Wet Reckless vs a DUI? Moreover the financial and penal implications? I am in California.

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A California "wet reckless" is not something for which you can be arrested. It is the first-level under a DUI that prosecutors will offer as a plea-bargain.

It may be offered for a number of reasons, e.g., breathalyzer right at or just above the legal limit, first offense, attitude when dealing with the police, etc.

The maximum penalties for a wet reckless conviction are lighter than those for a DUI. $1,000 fine and no jail for wet reckless vs. $3,000 and possible jail for DUI. The probationary period for wet reckless is shorter.

However, a wet reckless conviction will still count as a prior conviction when weighing penalties for future DUI convictions and a DUI program will still have to be completed.

While there is no court-imposed suspension of your license, your license can still be suspended at the DMV administrative hearing for up to 4 months.

While there is a lot of information on the web related to this plea-bargain, it is critical to get a competent attorney to provide counsel on how to deal with such a charge and whether or not to accept a wet reckless plea offer.

  • Thank you for the info. What if you got below an .08 and previously won the DMV hearing. If you take the wet plea bargain can the DMV still suspend your license? – NuWin Sep 23 '15 at 3:44
  • The DMV hearing is separate from the criminal proceeding. The DMV may suspend your license based on a wet reckless conviction. Consult with an attorney. I am not an attorney and I cannot and will not give any advice. – Dave D Sep 23 '15 at 4:40

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