Depending on the facts of a California DUI case, many cases can be reduced to a Wet Reckless, Dry Reckless, or Exhibition of Speed. A California DUI charge reduction avoids a DUI conviction, and carries far lower consequences.
Wet Reckless in California
California Vehicle Code section 23103.5 allows a DUI charge reduction from a DUI (VC 23152) to a misdemeanor Reckless Driving charge (VC 23103). A California DUI defense attorney may be able to negotiate this resolution with the prosecutor. A Wet Reckless conviction is technically a conviction for Reckless Driving with drugs or alcohol involved. The reduced charge of Wet Reckless carries a one year probation term, rather than three years for a DUI. A Wet Reckless can also lead to lower fines, shorter classes, and a faster path to post-conviction dismissal (expungement) of your California criminal case. A Wet Reckless conviction will not lead to any driver license suspension, but it will put two points on the driver’s record. A Wet Reckless conviction, however, does count as a prior DUI, if the defendant is arrested for another DUI case within 10 years. The maximum county jail sentence for a Wet Reckless is 90 days. For defendants who are not United States citizens, a Wet Reckless may also be better than a DUI conviction for immigration purposes.
Dry Reckless in California
In some cases, a California DUI defense attorney can persuade the prosecutor to reduce the case to a “Dry Reckless,” which is a simple misdemeanor Reckless Driving charge (VC 23103) with no reference to drugs or alcohol being involved. A Dry Reckless does not count as a prior DUI for purposes of a future prosecution. The conviction will lead to 12 months of probation with reduced fines, and classes subject to negotiation. The maximum county jail sentence for a Dry Reckless is 90 days. A Dry Reckless conviction will not lead to any driver license suspension, but it will put two points on the driver’s record. The case is eligible for post-conviction dismissal (expungement) as soon as probation is completed. For defendants who are not United States citizens, a Dry Reckless may also be better than a DUI conviction for immigration purposes.
Exhibition of Speed in California
In other cases, a California DUI defense attorney may be able to negotiate to resolve the case for a charge of Exhibition of Speed (VC 23109). Short of a dismissal of the case, this is usually the lowest charge that a DUI case can be negotiated to. A conviction for Exhibition of Speed carries one year of summary probation, reduced fines, and a negotiable class. The maximum county jail sentence for Exhibition of Speed is 90 days. An Exhibition of Speed conviction will not lead to any driver license suspension, but it will put two points on the driver’s record. The case is eligible for post-conviction dismissal (expungement) as soon as probation is completed. For defendants who are not United States citizens, an Exhibition of Speed may also be better than a DUI conviction for immigration purposes.
DUI Consequences in California
A typical misdemeanor California DUI case carries a maximum of six months in county jail. If the defendant has prior convictions, the maximum can by one year on county jail. If the case is a felony, it can lead to a state prison sentence. In Los Angeles county, most first-time DUI cases are resolved for three years of summary probation, with fines of approximately $2,000, a DUI class of up to 9 months, and maybe some community service. Terms of probation include: Do not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your blood; Do not decline any test requested by a peace officer; and Do not drive without a valid license and insurance. A DUI conviction will also trigger a driver license suspension by the DMV, usually 6 months, but maybe longer. During the term of suspension, most California drivers will qualify for a restricted license with an ignition interlock device installed in their car.
DMV Consequences of a California DUI Arrest
When a California driver is arrested for DUI, it kicks off two completely separate process: (1) a court process as described above; and (2) a DMV process where the DMV wants to suspend the driver’s license regardless of what happens in court. The driver (or attorney) has only 10 days from the date of the arrest to contact the DMV and request a hearing to challenge that suspension. Once we request a hearing, the driver receives a temporary license, so they can keep driving until the outcome of the hearing. We use the DMV hearing process a means of gather discovery through subpoenas, and to nail down the issues in the case before we get to court. Also, we often delay the DMV hearing until we reach a resolution in court, to minimize the total suspension time that a client faces. If a DUI charge is reduced to a Wet Reckless, Dry Reckless, or Exhibition of Speed, we still have to fight the DMV regarding a possible driver license suspension. If we lose the DMV hearing, we may consider suing the DMV in a process called a Petition for Writ of Mandate, asking a judge to overturn the DMV’s decision.
Why Hire a California DUI Attorney for DUI Charge Reduction
A California DUI Attorney, such as Don Hammond at Criminal Defense Heroes, P.C. in Torrance, will evaluate the case for problems in the police investigation that may lead to dismissal of the case. We will also help put together a mitigation packet to negotiate with the prosecutor for a California DUI charge reduction or to reduce the penalties. We use the multi-pronged approach to get the best possible results in every case. Don has more training than the average police officer in field sobriety testing and DUI investigations. He has also spent time in a lab, testing human blood samples for alcohol. He is uniquely qualified to find problems in the case that will lead to better results. If you have been arrested for DUI, call us immediately at 323-529-3660 for a free case evaluation.