Plea Bargaining: Wet Reckless, Dry Reckless, Exhibition of Speed

Published: 07th June 2006
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Plea Bargaining:

How do the following differ from a DUI:

Wet Reckless, Dry Reckless, Exhibition of Speed





The prosecutor and defense counsel can agree to a lower charged offense, as a result of what is known as "plea bargaining." Plea bargaining usually results in a lower-charged offense and/or a lighter sentence in exchange for a guilty or nolo contendere plea by the defendant. However, the judge in the case must approve the plea bargain in order for it to be effective. There are many advantages to a plea bargain. A plea bargain will avoid further court proceedings and avoid a full-blown trial. This saves money and time for both the prosecution and the defense. The court system is overburdened with cases already, so plea bargains are an inviting solution, so long as the judge goes along.



Plea bargains are also useful in sentencing. For example, in exchange for a nolo contendere or guilty plea, the prosecutor may be willing to adjust the amount of the fine or the time the defendant is allowed to pay the fine. If jail time cannot be avoided, then the terms of how the jail time is imposed may be plea bargained. For example, instead of incarceration in a county jail, the prosecution may be willing to allow alternative sentencing. Alternative sentencing on jail time includes electronic monitoring, also known as house arrest. Jail time can be served on weekends or in the evenings under a work furlough program.



It is possible to minimize or avoid jail and fines by plea bargaining. The defendant may be allowed to participate in an alcoholic's anonymous program (AA), donate money to Mother's Against Drunk Driving (MADD), or attend psychological counseling and/or alcohol rehabilitation treatment for alcohol addiction.



The following Vehicle Code Sections are often-used plea bargained offenses for DUIs:



VC 23103.5 ("Wet Reckless")



"Wet" Reckless refers to a plea bargained conviction of an alcohol-related reckless driving charge (VC 23103) from an original charge of VC 23152. If the prosecution and the court agree to a guilty or nolo contendere plea to 23103, and the prosecution states on the record that there was consumption of alcohol involved, then VC 23103 is eligible to be a prior DUI in a subsequent DUI conviction within a ten year span.



Persons convicted of "Wet" Reckless shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a minimum of 5 days to a maximum of 90 days or by a fine of a minimum of $145 to a maximum of $1,000 or by both imprisonment and fine.



A "Wet" Reckless does not have a mandatory requirement to attend an alcohol education course. If compelling circumstances exist that mitigate against including the alcohol education class, the court may order that the class not be required.



VC 23103 ("Dry" Reckless)



Reckless Driving is described as driving a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. There is no alcohol connotation in a Reckless Driving conviction.



Persons convicted of Reckless Driving shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a minimum of 5 days to a maximum of 90 days or by a fine of a minimum of $145 to a maximum of $1,000 or by both imprisonment and fine.



VC 23109 (c) (Exhibition of Speed)



An Exhibition of Speed conviction states that the motor vehicle was driven in an exhibition of speed on a highway or that the person aided or abetted in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on the highway. An exhibition of speed refers to a vehicle speed contest where a motor vehicle races against another vehicle, a clock, or other timing device.



Persons convicted of VC 23109 (c) shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for up to 90 days or by a fine up to $500, or both fine and imprisonment.




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