A dry reckless charge is a misdemeanor offense in California. You may face dry reckless charges if you operate a vehicle in a manner that portrays flagrant disregard for people's safety or safety of the property. In most cases, the court may also reduce your DUI charges to a dry reckless after a DUI arrest in California. Therefore, dry reckless is a typical plea bargain to California DUI charges.  You may get a dry reckless plea bargain if you are facing charges under VC 23152 (a) for driving under the influence.  If the prosecutor charges you with driving with a BAC of 0.08% or more, you may agree to plead guilty to a lesser offense of dry reckless under the California VC 23103.  If you are facing charges for dry reckless in Los Angeles, we at the Los Angeles Criminal Attorney can defend you in court.

Dry Reckless as a Plea Bargain for DUI

According to the California VC 23103, any person who operates a vehicle in wanton or willful disregard for the safety of other people or property may face dry reckless charges. A dry reckless charge under California law may have several advantages over getting a charge for DUI.

After the prosecutor charges you with a DUI offense, you may want to plea bargain the charges down to a dry reckless, according to VC 23103. After a plea bargain, there will be no indication on your record that your arrest involved alcohol or drugs.

A dry reckless conviction offers several advantages over the DUI charge.  Some of the benefits of dry reckless as a plea for driving under the influence include:

 Minimal Sentence Enhancements for Repeat Dry Reckless Offenses

For a DUI conviction in California, you face enhanced penalties for every additional or subsequent offense you commit. For instance, you always face enhanced penalties for a second or subsequent DUI offenses than for the first offense. However, upon reduction of a DUI offense to a dry reckless, the dry reckless will not count as a priorable offense.

According to California laws, the penalties for a dry reckless offense do not automatically increase every time you commit a subsequent offense.  However, it is essential to note that the judge had the discretion to punish you more harshly for multiple dry reckless crimes. However, the judge is not under the obligation to enhance your penalties for a dry reckless like in the case of California DUI offenses.

You Spend Less Time in Jail

Dry reckless charges under VC 23103 will attract a shorter jail sentence than a DUI charge.  A dry reckless plea deal will only attract a jail time of 90 days in a California county jail. For a misdemeanor DUI offense in California, the maximum jail time is six months. For a second or third misdemeanor DUI offense, the jail time may extend to one year.

If you commit a probation violation after a dry reckless conviction, the absolute limit for your sentencing would be 90 days. This is ideal because it is a half or even a quarter of the sentencing you would get for violating the terms of probation for a DUI offense.

No Ignition Interlock Device Requirement

For a DUI offense in California, you may have to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle to continue operating your vehicle. After installing the ignition interlock device, you are free to operate your vehicle like before.  However,  if you are not willing to install an ignition interlock device, the California Department of Motor Vehicles may go ahead and suspend your driver's license. An ignition interlock device functions the same way as a breathalyzer. Before you start your vehicle, you have to blow into the ignition interlock device. If the device senses the presence of alcohol in your breath, the vehicle cannot start. However, if there is no presence of alcohol in your breath, the vehicle starts.

Installation of an ignition interlock device is not necessary for a dry reckless offense.  Since a dry reckless offense does not prompt a suspension of your driver's license, you do not have to install an ignition interlock device to continue operating your vehicle.

Serving a Shorter Probation

Compared to the probation period for a DUI offense, a dry reckless attracts a shorter probation period. The probation for a dry reckless conviction may last for one year or a maximum of two years.  For a California DUI offense, the probation period may last between three years and five years.  Therefore, a plea bargain to a dry reckless would subject you to a much shorter probation period.

The shorter probation period is particularly important in case you commit another violation. For instance, you may commit an additional driving under the influence offense or operating a vehicle on a suspended license. However, as long as the probation period for the dry reckless has expired, the probation officer cannot accuse you of probation violation. 

Lower Fines

Often, DUI  offenses in California attract hefty fines, especially why aggravating factors are present.  You may incur thousands of dollars in paying fines and other court fees.  However, the maximum fine you can pay for a dry reckless violation under the California VC 23103 is $1,000.

For a DUI offense, the court imposes penalty assessment fees, and if you combine the fees with the fines, you may end up paying up to $3,000.In most cases, the fines you pay for a dry reckless offense are half the fines you would pay for a DUI offense.  Upon committing a dry reckless offense, the mandatory minimum fine is $145. However, after committing a DUI offense in California, the minimum mandatory fine is $390.

You may Retain your Driver's License.

According to California laws, most DUI offenses in California trigger a mandatory suspension of your driver's license. Typically, committing a DUI offense in California may lead to a six-month driver's license suspension.  If you have prior DUI or wet reckless convictions, the license suspension period may get longer.  However, when you install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, the California Department of Motor Vehicles may allow you to continue operating the vehicle.

However, under VC 23103, a dry reckless conviction will not trigger a suspension of your driver's license.  However, a dry reckless offense will add two points to your driving record. Accumulation of such points on your driver's record may lead to a negligent operator license suspension. 

You should note that whether you retain your driver's license or not will depend on the decision made during the DMV administrative hearing. You will not go through the criminal court process to determine whether you retain your driver's license or not. Therefore, after the reduction of your DUI charges to a dry reckless, you must also prevail at the DMV administrative hearing for you to retain your driver's license.

You can Avoid DUI School or attend the School for a Shorter Period

When you commit a DUI offense in California,  you may have to attend a DUI School Program for a minimum of three months. For repeat offenses, you may attend an alcohol education program for up to 18 months.  However, when you commit a dry reckless offense, DUI School is not a requirement. However, when you are negotiating a plea bargain to a dry reckless, the prosecutor or the judge may require you to attend DUI school for six weeks. 

Dry Reckless and a Wet Reckless

Just like a dry reckless, a California wet reckless is also a common plea bargain for DUI offenses in California.  For a wet reckless, you plead guilty to recklessly operating your vehicle. However, your record of conviction will also contain a note outlining that your arrest also involved alcohol or drugs in addition to reckless driving. In most DUI cases in California, prosecutors offer wet reckless as the first plea deal.  Therefore, a wet reckless is the first level of plea bargaining in California.

However, a dry reckless conviction offers some benefits over a conviction for wet reckless in California. Therefore, if the prosecutor offers a wet reckless as a plea bargain for a DUI offense, you may negotiate further with the help of an attorney. An attorney may persuade the prosecutor to reduce your charges downwards from a wet reckless to a dry reckless.

Some of the benefits of a dry reckless conviction over a wet reckless conviction include:

A Dry Reckless is a Non-Priorable Offense

Just like the standard and aggravated DUI offenses in California, a wet reckless is a priorable offense.  Therefore, if you have a wet reckless or a DUI offense on your record and you commit a subsequent DUI or wet reckless offense, you become a second offender.  When considering previous DUI or wet reckless offenses, the lookback period is ten years.  When you commit a second or subsequent offense, and you have a previous priorable offense on your record, you will face enhanced penalties.

However, a dry reckless offense is not priorable under California law. This is a shared benefit with a conviction under the California VC 23109 (c) exhibition of speed, which is also not a priorable offense.  Therefore,  if you have a dry reckless offense on your record and you commit an additional DUI offense, you will be a first-time DUI offender and not a repeat offender. First-time DUI offenders face lesser penalties than repeat DUI offenders.

You will not have Issues with Your Auto Insurance Policy

Most insurance companies prefer reckless driving conviction instead of a wet reckless or a DUI conviction.  A conviction for driving under the influence or a wet reckless may lead to cancellation of your auto insurance policy.  Also, a DUI or wet reckless conviction may lead to an increase in your auto insurance premiums.

When you commit a dry reckless offense, the offense will not attract the same level of scrutiny from the insurance companies.  Therefore, you will not have trouble with insurance companies regarding professional or commercial licenses like in the case of a DUI or a wet reckless offense.  Under California law, a dry reckless violation is a misdemeanor reckless driving. Therefore there is no automatic linkage or association of a dry reckless offense with DUI like in the case of a wet reckless in California.

Qualifying for a Plea Bargain of a DUI or Wet Reckless Offense  to a Dry Reckless 

Prosecutors are always hesitant to offer a dry reckless as a plea bargain for a DUI or wet reckless offense in California. Most prosecutors prefer offering a wet reckless as a plea bargain to DUI instead of offering a dry reckless as a plea bargain. This is because, under California law, a dry reckless is not a priorable offense. You will need the help of an experienced attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf for the prosecutor to agree to reduce your charges.  When are you likely to get reckless as a plea bargain?

Low BAC Levels

You are more likely to get a plea bargain to a dry reckless if you had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) close to 0.08%. Recording very high BAC results is an aggravating factor in California DUI cases. The prosecutor will have a strong case against you if you record very high BAC levels. The prosecutor is not likely to offer you a plea bargain if he/she has a strong case against you.

If you do not record extremely high BAC results, you may have a higher chance of getting a dry reckless as a plea bargain for your DUI charges.

Weak Evidence

If the prosecutor has weak evidence against you, he/she may offer you a dry reckless plea bargain.  This may be the case if some flaws exist in the prosecutor's evidence against you.  If you hire an experienced attorney to challenge the prosecutor's evidence, the prosecutor may offer you a plea bargain.

An attorney may challenge the prosecutor's evidence by challenging the credibility of the BAC results. For instance,  your attorney may challenge the viability of the testing equipment used in measuring your BAC levels. It is common for breathalyzer machines to be faulty. For instance, the breathalyzer machine may be poorly calibrated. The law also requires breathalyzer machines to undergo regular maintenance to ensure that they are in good condition.  If your attorney establishes the testing equipment was faulty, and the BAC results are not credible, the prosecutor may not have an option other than to reduce your charges to a dry reckless.

Your attorney may also challenge the prosecutor's evidence if it is apparent that the testing officer did not follow the required guidelines when conducting the BAC testing.  Only qualified personnel should conduct BAC testing. The testing officer must also adhere to the set testing procedures and guidelines.

To challenge the evidence of the prosecutor, your attorney may request a  retesting of your blood.  Therefore, you do not have to give up after the prosecutor charges you with high levels of BAC. It is common for prosecutors to accuse people of recording high BAC levels only for a BAC retesting to reveal a much lower blood alcohol concentration.

Common Arguments when Seeking Plea Bargain to a Dry Reckless

When negotiating for a reduction of DUI charges to a dry reckless, you may put across various arguments with the help of your attorney:

You may point out the DUI blood test sample did not contain an ample amount of preservatives. After drawing your blood, the testing officer preserves the blood awaiting a chemical testing.  If the preservative is insufficient, the blood sample may indicate higher than actual BAC levels.  Therefore, if after a retesting, it is evident that your blood sample did not have adequate preservative, you may negotiate for a plea bargain.

You may also challenge the BAC results if it is apparent that there was a break in the evidentiary chain while handling your blood sample.  This break would mean that contamination may have occurred during the handling of the blood sample leading to compromised BAC results.

The testing officer should take your breath sample or blood sample immediately after the DUI arrest. You may challenge the BAC results if the testing officer took the breath or the blood test more than three hours after your arrest, you may challenge the results in court.

You may point out that you suffer from GERD, and you were experiencing it at the time the testing officer measured your blood for BAC. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)  is a digestive disorder. The disorder affects the lower esophageal sphincter. If you are suffering from GERD, you may have high acid levels, and this may compromise your BAC levels, making you record high BAC levels even while you are not intoxicated.

You may also argue that the high BAC results were due to residual mouth alcohol from using substances like mouthwash with alcohol content.  

After an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, it is advisable to contact an attorney. An attorney will help you learn and understand about the dry reckless plea bargains.

Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer Near Me

If you are facing DUI charges in Los Angeles, CA, you may want to negotiate with the prosecutor to charge you with a dry reckless instead of DUI.   You need the guidance of an attorney to help you know if you are eligible for a plea bargain.  The attorney will also handle and negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf.  Los Angeles Criminal Attorney can help you understand a dry reckless and how to get a dry reckless plea bargain. Contact us at 424-333-0943 and speak to one of our experienced attorneys.