Can a California DUI Be Reduced?

Virginia Landry and staff

You may have heard about criminal charges and how in some cases they can be “reduced.” Often, a defendant’s charges are reduced after he or she agrees to accept a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an agreement, or a deal, between the defendant and prosecutor, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to a lesser offense or to less charges.

Often, it’s a win-win because the defendant gets lighter penalties (sometimes much lighter) and the prosecutor doesn’t lose a case, which looks bad on his or her track record – prosecutors hate to lose. So, the question is, can a California DUI be reduced to a lesser offense like other criminal cases?


In California, some DUI cases can be pleaded down or “reduced” to a wet reckless, which is good news for DUI defendants because not all states have such an option. If a DUI case is eligible, a wet reckless plea can be extremely beneficial for the defendant.

A defendant can only have their DUI reduced to a wet reckless. They can’t be arrested for wet reckless, nor can they be charged with it. Instead, it’s a bargaining tool used by skilled DUI defense attorneys who are looking out for the best interests of eligible clients.

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • The driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was near the .08 percent legal limit.
  • The prosecution does not have a strong case.
  • The case does not involve aggravating factors, but instead it involves mitigating factors, such as no accident or speeding.

“What are the benefits of pleading down to a wet reckless?” For starters, the penalties are lighter than a DUI. A wet reckless involves lower fines, less jail time, and a shorter probation. It may not trigger a driver license suspension and it may not affect a professional license the way a DUI conviction would.

To learn more , you can read more about wet reckless under Section 23103.5 of the California Vehicle Code. For further reading, click here to see more posts on the topic.

Facing DUI charges in Orange County? Contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our legal team.

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