wet-recklessIf you’ve ever been arrested for DUI, or if you know someone who has, you have possibly heard the term “wet reckless” thrown around. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the prosecution may offer to allow a DUI defendant to plead guilty to “wet reckless” as a reduced charge. If you are offered this kind of plea deal and agree to the terms, accepting it can provide you more leniency compared to a DUI conviction, but there are still some nuances in the law and some consequences you need to be aware of. Let’s discuss some of the key differences between a “wet reckless” charge and a DUI charge to help defendants make an informed decision in the event of a plea deal.

What Is a “Wet Reckless” Charge?

“Wet reckless” is simply a colloquial term for reducing a DUI charge to a reckless driving charge under California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5 VC, with the additional note on the defendant’s record that alcohol was involved. (Hence the term “wet reckless.”) The unique thing about a wet reckless charge is that it only occurs in a plea deal situation, as a reduction down from DUI. In other words, prosecutors would never charge a defendant initially for “wet reckless driving” because technically it’s the same offense as reckless driving. You’ll only have a “wet reckless” charge on you record if you accept a plea deal in response to a DUI and agree to plead guilty or nolo contendere to the lesser charge.

like-father-like-son-los-angeles-DUIIn June, we celebrate Father’s Day—a day set aside for appreciating what fathers have done for us, the example they set, etc. But like everyone else, fathers have feet of clay, and sometimes they don’t always set the best example. Sometimes our fathers fail us, and sometimes we as fathers fail our children. So let’s explore a rather loaded question: If a father has a proclivity toward repeated DUI offenses, does that mean the children will, as well?

The answers here can be complex because many dynamics are at work in the relationship between parents and children—including genetics, parents’ example and the overall way we are raised. Let’s begin by stating that when we view DUI as a crime, we’d be hard pressed to say that any criminal activity is an inherited trait. Our mistakes are our own, and we can’t blame them on our parents. However, many underlying factors can make people more prone to making bad choices, including the unfortunate decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence. If we understand some of these underlying factors, we may be able to compensate and make better choices. Let’s look at some of these dynamics.

Addiction and Genetics

IID-debate-300x157Over the past several years use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) has been growing in momentum and popularity as a deterrent to DUI. At the beginning of 2019, California became the 33rd state to expand its IID technology program, requiring the installation of IIDs for repeat DUI offenders and offering IIDs to first-time offenders in exchange for a reduced license suspension. Now, some members of Congress are opening up a debate about whether IIDs should be required in all vehicles, regardless of a driver’s history with DUI.

While IIDs do seem to be effective in reducing incidents of DUI, the technology is not without controversy, especially as the government seeks to expand its use. Some see it as a powerful safety feature not unlike the seat belt or the air bag; others view it as an unnecessary invasion of privacy. Let’s take a closer look at the different sides of this debate to see what we can learn.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

Bizarre-DUI-stories-2019-300x222Driving under the influence can lead to some strange occurrences—none of them working in the driver’s favor. At the time of this writing, we’re only three-and-a-half months into 2019, and already we’re hearing reports of DUI cases ranging from the ironic to the unbelievable. Let’s explore a few of the most bizarre DUI stories of the year to date, and see what we can take away from them.

Sunk Until Spring

In early March, witnesses say a 37-year-old man from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, drove his vehicle twice off a boat launch onto a frozen lake. On the second time, the vehicle broke through the ice and sank. Law enforcement arrived on the scene to see the man walking off the frozen lake in wet clothes while his vehicle disappeared under the surface. The man, John W. Hamilton, was arrested on suspicion of DUI. He claimed he was alone in the car when the ice broke, officials tested the site via sonar to verify that no one else was stuck in the car. Deputies estimated the vehicle was on the lake floor 17 feet below. Not only does Hamilton face DUI charges, but his vehicle will likely not be retrieved until later in the spring when the ice has melted.

hit-and-run-los-angeles-DUI-300x169Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be disruptive and traumatic, both for you and for everyone involved. But if you decide to leave the scene of the accident before police have arrived, you make the situation even worse. Now, you have added hit-and-run to any other offenses you might have been charged with, punishable by possible fines and jail time.

People may commit hit-and-run offenses for a number of reasons, some less obvious than others. For instance:

• They might not have realized they made contact with another vehicle or person.

boating-under-the-influence-300x225From gorgeous harbors and miles of coastline to hundreds of lakes, reservoirs and waterways, there are plenty of places in California to enjoy time out on a boat. But if you think operating a boat exempts you from California DUI laws, think again. Last spring, Dean Allen Payne came face to face with the full force of California law after running his boat over two ladies in innertubes, seriously injuring both of them. After being convicted operating the boat while intoxicated, Payne was sentenced to 12 years in state prison.

While DUI boating laws differ only slightly from those covering automobiles on the road, the consequences of breaking them can be no less severe. If you operate a boat and choose to indulge, here’s what you need to know about boating and DUI.

Boating Under the Influence: An Overview

2019-DUI-300x205It’s not how you envisioned kicking off the New Year. Perhaps you’ve made resolutions; perhaps you’ve set goals. You were looking forward to the prospects of a new year with new possibilities. Certainly, kicking off 2019 with a Los Angeles DUI arrest was not on the agenda. Now you are facing potential charges that could spoil your momentum and derail all your plans for the year. What do you do now, and what steps can you take to get your year back on track?

First, regardless of the specific circumstances of your case, realize that you’re not the only person in this situation. The holiday season of 2018 in general, and New Year’s Eve in particular, has been record-setting for DUI arrests in California. Consider the following:

• Over the Christmas weekend 2018, California law enforcement officers made more than 1100 DUI arrests. That’s nearly 200 more than the 917 arrests made during the same time in 2017.

notorious-ingrid-bergman-cary-grant-300x225Continuing our examination of DUI as reflected in popular culture and media, let’s shift our focus from music and television to the film industry.

DUI in Film

While the depiction of DUI on TV drastically changed in the 1980s, and while DUI in popular music has been both consistent and prolific, the film industry perhaps falls somewhere in the middle of these extremes. While the movies certainly don’t shy away from this topic, neither does the industry as a whole appear to carry any particular agenda—which makes an examination of this medium a bit more complex. Perhaps the best approach is to look at a few specific examples of DUI in films—both classic and modern—to see what we can learn.

school-bus-DUI-deadliest-crash-300x158Great journalism has the ability not just to report the facts, but also to raise important questions and provoke discussion. The issues surrounding DUI enforcement and prevention are indeed complex, and many news stories over the past ten years have helped to propel these much-needed conversations forward. Let’s continue our exploration.

1. Reflecting on the Deadliest DUI Accident in History

On May 14, 1988, a DUI driver in a pickup truck slammed head-on into a school bus in Carrollton, KY, killing 27 people and injuring 34 others. Today, that collision still holds the record as the deadliest DUI accident in history. It was a triggering event that resulted in sweeping changes to the laws, including stricter safety measures for buses and a lowering of the legal BAC limit nationwide. But as ABC News reports, thirty years later, some are still questioning whether enough has been done to turn the tide of DUI.

scooter-DUI-los-angeles-300x169Suppose you’re at a bar with some friends and you have a few drinks. You don’t feel exceptionally impaired, but you realize you’re probably not safe to drive home. You notice a scooter rental nearby and decide that might be a cheaper choice than springing for a cab or Uber. In fact, you grab one more drink with the money you saved. You’ve made a good choice, right? You’re being responsible.

Not so fast.

In late September, as USA Today reports, Los Angeles prosecutors secured their first DUI conviction of a man riding an electric scooter while under the influence—no doubt the first of many.

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