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Reducing a DUI to Wet Reckless

In California driving under the influence (DUI) cases, there is a process where a DUI defense attorney will negotiate with a prosecutor to reduce the DUI charge to a “wet reckless.” What does this mean? Basically, it means reckless driving with alcohol involved.

There are several advantages to getting a DUI charge reduced to a wet reckless, and we are going to explain them further. For starters, just because a DUI defendant accepts a wet reckless deal, that does not mean that he or she was driving recklessly. This confuses a lot of people.

The defendant could have been stopped at a DUI checkpoint, or they could have been initially stopped because a taillight was out, or because they had expired registration, but they weren’t driving recklessly.

Often, people will say, “I wasn’t driving recklessly at all.” Even though the driver wasn’t actually driving “recklessly,” it’s in their best interests to plea to that charge than a DUI charge because it’s less serious.

There are several benefits to pleading to a wet reckless, including:

  • The probation period is shorter
  • The fine is less than a DUI
  • There may be no DUI school, but if there is it will be shorter
  • It does not lead to a court-imposed driver’s license suspension
  • It looks better than a DUI on a record

Note: If you lose your DMV hearing, your driver’s license may be suspended, but a wet reckless in itself will not trigger a court-imposed driver’s license suspension.

Wet Reckless in Multiple DUI Situations

When a driver is looking at a second or subsequent DUI, a wet reckless is even more appealing. One of the main reasons for this is because with each successive DUI, the penalties are significantly greater.

So, while there are mandatory penalties for a second, third, or fourth DUI, those mandatory penalties do not apply if the DUI defendant’s charge is reduced to wet reckless.

While there are many benefits to a wet reckless, it is still priorable for the sake of DUI. If a driver takes a plea of a wet reckless and they get another DUI within 10 years, the wet reckless will still count as a prior DUI offense and the new DUI will count as a second DUI for penalty purposes.

Generally, there are many benefits to getting a DUI charge reduced to wet reckless, whether it’s the defendant’s first, second, or subsequent DUI offense.

Need an Orange County DUI lawyer? Contact our office to meet with a board certified DUI defense specialist and member of the National College for DUI Defense for free!