A DUI Can Ruin Your Life
For many, a DUI is a life-changing experience. A DUI conviction can be a wake-up call. After the stressful experience of an arrest, you also face jail time, the loss of your license, and enormous costs. The good news is facing DUI charges doesn't necessarily mean you will walk away with a DUI conviction. In reality, many DUI defendants walk away with a lesser charge: wet reckless driving.
A Favorable Alternative
Wet reckless driving is a common plea bargain in DUI cases. Often, first-time offenders might have the opportunity to work out a plea bargain with the prosecution. A plea bargain is a deal between the defendant and the prosecuting attorney. Typically, the prosecutor reduces the charges in exchange for a guilty plea. This helps all parties avoid the cost of a trial. The prosecutor gets the guilty plea he or she wanted, and the defendant walks away with a lesser charge. In many cases, it is a win-win situation.
Many people don't realize a plea bargain is an option in their case before it's too late. But for those who hire competent counsel, working out a plea bargain can be relatively easy. And a wet reckless charge is far better than a DUI charge for the following reasons:
The DMV Treats Wet Reckless Driving Differently
Wet reckless driving is a type of reckless driving charge. Reckless driving is not just a traffic ticket. It is a criminal offense. Examples of reckless driving offenses include speeding at twice the posted speed limit or making risky or dangerous traffic moves like trying to pass around a blind corner. Wet reckless driving is not the same as DUI, though. The DMV will not suspend your license under the Admin Per Se law, which covers those arrested for a DUI. Under the Admin Per Se law, those arrested for a DUI will have their license automatically suspended. Those convicted of a DUI will face a license suspension of four months.
Wet reckless driving is typically charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 or both. First-time offenders, however, may be able to avoid the maximum jail sentence and fine. A DUI conviction comes with a mandatory jail sentence and a mandatory fine. You can also avoid having to install an ignition interlock device in your car, which is mandatory in some counties after a DUI conviction.
If you are convicted of wet reckless driving, the court can consider it when sentencing you for repeat offenses. For example, if you get your DUI charges reduced to a wet reckless charge and later are charged with a DUI, the court can consider your wet reckless as a DUI. A second DUI conviction can result in significantly higher penalties, so this is an important caveat to keep in mind. You will also most likely face increased insurance rates, just as you would with a DUI conviction. You most likely will have to maintain an SR-22 filing with the California DMV. This is a document your insurance company files with the DMV to show proof you have insurance. Insurance companies typically charge higher rates for those who need SR-22 filings, and those rates can continue to be high for up to three years. You might also have to go to a court-ordered “DUI school,” although you typically will be required to take classes for a shorter period.
A wet reckless is preferable to a DUI conviction. And for many first-time offenders, working out a plea bargain for a wet reckless is simple. But if you want to avoid a DUI conviction, you will want to work closely with an experienced California DUI defense attorney to have the best chance of getting a plea bargain. A wet reckless plea bargain can save you a long license suspension, time in DUI classes, and the steep fines and jail time that come with a DUI conviction.
Have you been arrested and are facing DUI charges? Visalia area DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens can help you get the outcome you deserve. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens has handled thousands of cases and has taken over 50 to trial. Attorney Christopher Martens has the skills and knowledge needed to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert criminal defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.