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Can I Get Arrested for Wet Reckless?

There is a lot of talk around the .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit and whether a person can get arrested for DUI in Orange County if their BAC is less than .08%. Many California drivers have heard about a wet reckless, so they ask themselves, “Can I get arrested for a wet reckless?”

We’ve discovered that there’s a lot of confusion as to whether California drivers can get arrested for DUI if they are driving “buzzed” and whether they can get arrested for wet reckless if their BAC is under the legal limit. In an effort to clear up this confusion, we’re going to explain a few things!

1. You can get convicted of DUI with a low BAC.
Under VC Section 23152(a), it is unlawful for a person to drive a vehicle while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. Simply put, if it can be proven that your driving ability was impaired, it is possible to be convicted of DUI with a BAC below .08%.

2. It is illegal to drive with a BAC at or above .08%.
Under VC Section 23152(b), it’s illegal for a person with .08% BAC or more to drive a vehicle, period.

3. You don’t get arrested for wet reckless.
A wet reckless is unique because it’s not a charge that you get arrested for. Instead, it’s usually the first level of DUI reduction that’s offered by the prosecutor. The term “wet” implies that you committed a drug or alcohol-related offense.

4. A wet reckless is only offered in a plea bargain.
You can’t get arrested for a wet reckless because it’s something that’s only offered during the plea-bargaining process – in place of a DUI conviction.

5. There are definite advantages to a wet reckless.
Some of the advantages of a wet reckless include: no mandatory jail time regardless of DUI priors (multiple offenders benefit greatly with this plea bargain), a shorter jail sentence, lesser fines, shorter probation period, and no mandatory license suspension, etc.

6. A wet reckless is counted as a prior offense.
While a wet reckless is less serious than a DUI, it still counts as a “prior” offense if you are ever convicted of DUI in the future. This means that for the sake of enhanced sentencing and penalties for a second or third DUI, the wet reckless would count against you.

When are DUIs Reduced to Wet Reckless?

Prosecutors are more inclined to reduce a DUI to a wet reckless when:

  • The BAC is close to the .08% limit
  • There are weaknesses is the prosecutor’s case
  • The prosecutor prefers to see you be convicted of something rather than risk losing at trial

If you’re facing DUI charges in Orange County and would like to learn more about wet reckless, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to speak with a Board-Certified DUI defense expert. All of our initial consultations are free, so you have nothing to lose by giving us a call!