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Dry Reckless Driving


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There are 58 counties in California. There are hundreds of criminal courts in the 58 counties.

Dear Mr. Wagner, I'd like to express sincere thanks to you for working with my father this ordeal. My family and I appreciate your time and expertise, all the more so because we are all unable and unqualified to offer him any tactical support in this matter. J.R. Read what others have to say

Prosecutors throughout California Courts vary in the way they deal with DUI cases. District Attorneys, City Prosecutors, and City Attorneys have their own unique policies for how they handle DUI cases. This cannot be understated.

drunk driving lawyers calif

For example, there is a gigantic difference between how Los Angeles prosecutors and Orange County prosecutors handle DUI cases. There is also a big disparity in the Inland Empire. The Riverside County District Attorney deals with DUI cases very differently compared to the San Bernardino County District Attorney.

The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office is responsible for prosecuting the majority of DUI cases in Los Angeles. They never settle cases for a dry reckless. Instead, their policy is to have the defendant plead no contest to a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23109(c), commonly referred to as Speed Exhibition. Read about Understanding Plea Deals in California

What Is a Dry Reckless?

In some cases, people arrested and then charged with DUI can get that charge dismissed. They accomplish this by agreeing to plead guilty to a reduced charge. One such charge is reckless driving, also known as a "dry reckless," under California Vehicle Code Section 23103.

A dry reckless conviction derives its appealability from having no alcohol or drug references in the charge. Also, the DMV will not impose the mandatory driver's license suspension that would otherwise result from a DUI conviction.

A dry reckless is different from a wet reckless. It has an important attribute. The DMV and prosecutor cannot use it to increase punishment if you get a DUI in the future.

This is probably the main reason why a DUI case is so difficult to settle for a dry reckless. Prosecutors are resistant to making deals for a dry reckless because the charge is not considered "priorable."

In some counties, prosecutors would rather take a case to trial than offer a dry reckless.

To prove that a defendant is guilty of reckless driving, the prosecuting attorney has the burden to prove:

  1. The defendant drove a vehicle (on a highway /off-street parking facility); AND
  2. The defendant intentionally drove with wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

Wanton disregard is defined as when (1) he or she is aware that his or her actions present a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm, and (2) he or she intentionally ignores that risk. The person does not, however, have to intend to cause damage.

However, speeding by itself does not prove that you drove with wanton disregard for safety.

Dry Reckless Penalties 

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor. It is considered a criminal offense. You will also get 2 points on your driving record. Insurance companies will raise your rates.

1. Driver's License Suspension

Frequently asked questions about dry reckless cases involve driver's licenses:

  • Does a dry reckless suspend your license?
  • How to get license back after dry and reckless

As stated above, unlike a DUI or wet reckless conviction, a dry reckless conviction will not lead to a mandatory DMV driver's license suspension.

However, if you have prior reckless driving convictions, the court (as opposed to the DMV) has the discretion to suspend your license for a specified length of time.

These suspensions are separate and different from what the DMV does as a result of your Administrative Per Se Hearing.

For first-time DUI offenders, the Administrative Per Se Hearing suspension period is four months.

For multiple offenders, the Administrative Per Se Hearing suspension is one year.

However, drivers can convert these suspensions into restricted licenses. Attorney Richard Wagner patiently guides you through this process. Read about DUI DMV Administrative Per Se Hearings

2. Fines

Fines associated with a dry reckless are flexible. The minimum fine is $145. The maximum is $1,000. Remember that penalty assessments are added to all fines, which significantly increase the amount you have to pay.

3. Jail Time

The sentencing law states that jail time can range from 5 to 90 days in the county jail. However, jail time is extremely rare for dry reckless convictions.

4. Probation

Probation for a dry reckless is usually 12 months. In comparison, DUI probation must be a minimum of 3 years and could be as long as 5 years.

5. DUI School

There is no DUI program required for a dry reckless conviction.

6. Immigration Consequences

A DUI conviction can have severe repercussions for non-U.S. citizens. These consequences could include loss of DACA status, deportation, exclusion from admission to the U.S., or denial of naturalization.

However, unlike DUI charges, a dry reckless charge is not considered a "significant misdemeanor" by immigration authorities.

DUI Defense Attorney - Free Consultation

It is essential to consult an experienced DUI Attorney if you have been arrested for a DUI offense. Don't delay in seeking legal counsel. The early involvement of an experienced DUI attorney may make all the difference in the outcome of your driving under the influence case.

Contact DUI Attorney Richard Wagner at (714) 721.4423 for a free consultation. Learn more about your DUI and options like dry reckless driving. Get the help you need from an attorney who works hard for you.