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The Differences Between DUI & A “Wet Reckless” In The San Francisco Bay Area

The Differences Between DUI & A “Wet Reckless” In The San Francisco Bay Area Lawyer, San Francisco CityThis article can help you learn:

  • How a “wet reckless” can be beneficial if you’ve been charged with a DUI.
  • What you should look for in a DUI lawyer to get you the best results for your case.
  • Some helpful strategies attorneys use to get your DUI charges decreased or dismissed.
Why Wasn’t I Charged With A Wet Reckless Instead Of A DUI With A Low BAC In The San Francisco Bay Area?

When someone is arrested for a DUI in the San Francisco Bay area, the police officers put down what they think the charges should be. Then, the paperwork goes to the district attorney’s (DA’s) office in the county where you were arrested.

From there, they decide what charges are going into the complaint. The police officers never put down “wet reckless” as a charge. That is very rare, and even more rare at the DA’s office. Instead, a wet reckless is often negotiated to get the charges lowered.

What Are Some Of The Benefits Of A Wet Reckless?

There are many different reasons why a wet reckless is better than a regular DUI. For starters, the probation period is only one year instead of three years, which is a big deal for many people. In addition, the fines are less and DUI school could also be shorter in some cases. What’s more, it could affect your future job prospects and similar matters.

What Are The Different Charges For A DUI In The San Francisco Bay Area?

Typically, when you’re arrested for a DUI, it’s either for alcohol or drugs. If it’s alcohol, they will test your blood alcohol content (BAC). If you’re at or over a 0.08 BAC, they will charge you with a “per se” DUI, as well as an impairment charge for drug use. Additionally, you could be below a 0.08 or have no alcohol in your system at all and still be charged with a DUI for drugs.

These charges are two different vehicle codes in the same penalty sections. The impairment charge is vehicle code section 23152 (a) and the per se (0.08 or higher BAC) charge is vehicle code section 23152 (b). For drug impairment, the code is (f), and for a combined influence of drugs and alcohol, the code is (g).

Whether we can get the charges dismissed or reduced, or whether we go to a jury trial, is to be determined. If the DA thinks that you were impaired because of either prescription or non-prescription drugs combined with alcohol, they will usually charge a regular DUI, not a wet reckless.

A wet reckless is something that is rarely arrested for and rarely charged. It’s almost always something that is negotiated later down the road.

What Should I Look For In A DUI Attorney In The San Francisco Bay Area?

Hiring the best attorney that you can is critical. That means finding someone who is very experienced and works exclusively or mainly with DUI defense. Ideally, your attorney should be a member of one of the national or California State DUI organizations.

It would be even better if you can find a DUI lawyer who teaches other attorneys how to do DUI defense. It’s great if your attorney has a strong reputation as someone who everyone calls when they or their friends get a DUI.

There are a handful of experienced DUI attorneys in the San Francisco Bay area who have been doing DUI defense for a long time. However, there are very few attorneys who do exclusively DUI defense like I do. When you combine a focus on DUI defense with over 30 years of experience, it will increase your odds of winning the case. If we cannot win the case, getting the charges reduced to a wet reckless will at least give you some options.

You should try to find an attorney who will give you the best chance to win your case and have the charges dropped, if possible. Hopefully, they can also win the DMV hearing and help you avoid any license suspension or points against your license.

How Do I Get My DUI Reduced To A Wet Reckless In The San Francisco Bay Area?

The ability to get your DUI reduced to a wet reckless depends on both the case and your attorney. The first step is to find the best DUI lawyer that you can.

In order to get a charge reduced, we look at many different things. If it’s an alcohol case, it will depend on which county in the San Francisco Bay area you were arrested in, and where your case is taking place. Every county has different guidelines that their DA offices follow, and it’s important to have someone who is familiar with your county.

Your attorney should know what type of defenses work in your particular county, and what the DA’s offices want to see. For example, in some counties, they want to see a lot of self-help meetings. In others, they want to see someone who has a very low alcohol level. In fact, that is one thing that most Bay area counties have in common: you need to have a low alcohol level to be able to get the charges reduced to a wet reckless.

We can go after other factors in a hearing, such as the reason why the officer pulled you over. We can try to completely win the criminal case, and potentially the DMV case, instead of just trying to get the charge reduced to a wet reckless.

We will look into all reports and testing machine results. We check to see if there are any indications that you performed well, or better than what was documented in the police report. We will also go over any blood or breath tests you took, and any videos that may show a lack of credibility from the cops. Finally, we can investigate the standard field sobriety tests, including:

  • Walking the line
  • Standing on one leg
  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test (where you’re following a finger or pen with your eyes)
  • The Romberg balance test (where your head is back and your eyes are closed and you’re estimating 30 seconds)
  • And more…

It’s essential to work with an attorney who understands these tests and how they are given and interpreted. This means having an attorney who has gone through the same course that the California Highway Patrol (CHP) takes. This course goes over how to give and interpret these tests, and how the scoring system works.

Especially with borderline cases, it’s important to be able to point out the issues with the case against you. We must convince the DA that maybe this isn’t the case that they can win at trial. The district attorney’s office wants to see horrible field sobriety tests and high BAC levels so they can win at trial. What they don’t like is issues with breathalyzer testing where there’s reasonable doubt on a 0.08 charge or a per se charge.

They also don’t want to see field sobriety tests where the person has performed well, especially if we have recordings. This is because jurors will be watching and will decide if someone looks impaired or not. If you do well on those tests and we have a recording, we have a much better chance of putting reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors, which means the DA is unlikely to win the case.

There are many different ways we can approach a case, and we can try different angles to get the charges reduced. If you have questions, I recommend that you contact my office. We offer free consultations during which we talk about DUIs, wet reckless charges, jury trials, court or DMV hearings, and any other DUI issues.

We discuss these matters and work with DUI cases all day, every day. That’s what we do. We understand how difficult it can be to face DUI charges, but we’re here to help, so please feel free to reach out.

For more information on Facing DUI Charges In the San Francisco Bay Area, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

Aaron Bortel

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