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California drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) have an important decision to make - whether to accept a plea bargain to a lesser charge if one is offered, or take the case to a criminal DUI trial. An experienced DUI attorney in San Francisco can evaluate each drunk driving case to determine whether pleading guilty to a reduced charge is in the driver’s best interests and negotiate the best possible deal.

Plea bargains are negotiated settlements between the prosecution and the defense counsel. Prosecutors typically offer a plea agreement to a lesser DUI charge when the case against a driver isn’t particularly strong, and there is a chance the prosecution won’t win in court. As the term “plea bargain” implies, the deal has to be a bargain for both sides. The driver pleads guilty in exchange for a lesser charge, a reduced sentence, or both.

One such plea that may be offered is the option of pleading guilty to alcohol-related reckless driving (See California Vehicle Code Section 23103 and Section 23103.5), also known as wet-reckless. In some ways, wet-reckless is similar to a driving under the influence (DUI) charge - if a driver is again arrested for DUI within 10 years, the wet-reckless charge counts as a prior DUI conviction. Also, most insurance companies view wet-reckless the same as a driving under the influence, and the driver will pay considerably more for car insurance.

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Attorneys for the firm represent clients accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving with a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Napa counties.

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However, a wet-reckless plea is better than a California DUI conviction in many respects. The charge carries no alcohol education requirement, no mandatory drivers license suspension, and no SR-22 filing required if the driver wins California DMV hearing. The wet-reckless plea is also a good option for individuals with professional licensing concerns, such as doctors, psychiatrists, and real-estate agents.

An offer to reduce a DUI charge to wet-reckless is most often extended if the driver's chemical test showed a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .10 percent or less. Wet-reckless is a misdemeanor charge, and carries less severe court punishment than a California DUI conviction.

Whether to accept a DUI plea bargain such as wet-reckless is a decision an accused driver should make only after receiving expert legal advice. A San Francisco Bay Area DUI attorney will work to negotiate a fair and appropriate plea bargain, and advise whether pleading guilty to wet-reckless is in the driver's best interests.

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