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Napa DUI defense lawyerYour goal after being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is to prevent a conviction, but there are DUI cases where the evidence against you makes a conviction seem unavoidable. Sometimes, you must decide whether you will continue to fight the charge or take a plea deal if one is offered. Plea bargaining can reduce the punishment of a DUI conviction or reduce the charge, and a skilled DUI defense attorney can help

Common Plea Bargain Scenarios

Most defendants prefer to not have a DUI conviction on their record, even if it means accepting a lesser charge. There are three common plea deals that prosecutors may offer in a DUI case:

  1. Wet Reckless: A “wet reckless” plea deal means you are accepting a reckless driving conviction while admitting that alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident. The conviction on your record will indicate that you may have had alcohol or drugs in your system but does not say that those substances legally impaired you. The biggest advantage of a “wet reckless” plea is that the court might not suspend your driver’s license. However, the conviction will be treated as if it was a prior DUI offense if you are ever convicted of DUI.
  2. Dry Reckless: A “dry reckless” plea deal is a standard reckless driving conviction without mentioning alcohol or drugs as part of the incident. A reckless driving conviction is still a misdemeanor offense, but there are lower penalties and less stigma with having the conviction on your record. Unlike a wet reckless conviction, a dry reckless conviction would not count as a prior DUI offense if you are convicted of DUI.
  3. Exhibition of Speed: If you were pulled over for speeding before your DUI arrest, you may be able to negotiate an “exhibition of speed” plea deal. While also a misdemeanor offense, a speeding conviction is highly preferable to a DUI conviction.

Should You Accept a Plea Deal?

Taking a plea deal helps you avoid the risk of receiving the harshest DUI penalties if you allow your case to go to trial. However, you should be careful before accepting a plea deal. The first plea deal you receive may not be the best deal that the prosecution will offer. Also, getting your charge dismissed or a not-guilty verdict is still the best possible outcome. If the prosecution comes to you with a plea deal, it may be because they are not confident that they can win a DUI case at trial.

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Posted on in DUI

How Does a Wet Reckless Conviction Relate to DUI?When charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the defendant’s goal is to be acquitted or have the charge dismissed or reduced. Prosecutors may offer a reduced charge before you go to trial if you agree to not contest it. For a DUI, this could be reducing an aggravated DUI to a standard DUI or a standard DUI to reckless driving. A DUI charge that has been reduced to reckless driving is commonly called a “wet reckless” because it is reckless driving that acknowledges that alcohol was involved. A wet reckless conviction is favorable to a DUI conviction, but there are still consequences.

Advantages

In California, a wet reckless conviction often results in lighter penalties than a DUI:

  • A reckless driving conviction can include up to 90 days in jail, a fine of $145 to $1,000, one-to-two years of probation and no mandatory driver’s license suspension; and
  • A first-time DUI conviction can include up to six months in jail, penalties of as much as $2,300, three-to-five years of probation and a six-month driver’s license suspension.

A wet reckless conviction has lower maximum penalties and no minimums in some cases. You may be able to continue driving without any restrictions or the need to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. You will have a reckless driving conviction on your criminal record, but a DUI conviction would look worse in a background check and possibly hurt your chances at employment and obtaining a loan.

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