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Reckless Driving, “wet” or “dry”


Reckless driving is a violation of section 23103 of the California Vehicle Code. It is a misdemeanor, not an infraction. Prosecutors in Los Angeles County courts will sometimes accept a plea to reckless driving by way of a negotiated plea bargain in return for dismissing DUI charges. Securing the dismissal of DUI charges requires more effort than in Los Angeles County.

A “wet” reckless is an alcohol related offense and typically involves a defendant being ordered to complete an alcohol education program in addition to paying a reduced fine. The alcohol program can be of a reduced length of twelve hours which is the educational portion only of the three month DUI program. It is important to understand that a wet reckless is a prior offense mandating second offender penalties if a defendant is convicted of a further offense within ten years.

A “dry” reckless is not alcohol related and is therefore, not priorable in the event of a subsequent arrest for DUI. It also does not require completion of an alcohol education program.

A conviction for dry reckless or wet reckless carries two penalty points with the DMV, but does not mandate a six month license suspension by the mandatory actions department of the DMV as does a DUI conviction.

Prosecutors in DUI cases will only consider a reduction in charges if the evidence is borderline, if a persons circumstances merit consideration or to avoid trial in more difficult cases. Experienced DUI lawyers will be able to advise on the chances of securing a reduction in the charges and the advisability of accepting a plea bargain instead of going to trial. Sometimes the decision involves balancing competing considerations and it is important that a defendant faced with making a choice is fully informed as to the ramifications of any decision.