Fresno Drunk Driving Defense: Can You Plead Down to a Wet Reckless?

Mar 08, 2017

Because the charges in California for an driving under the influence (DUI) conviction are so steep—those convicted face a large fine, possible prison terms, and possible suspension or revocation of their license—defendants often ask about methods to plead the charge down to a lesser offense.
One option is a charge often termed a “wet reckless.” In this charge, the defendant admits to operating a vehicle recklessly. He or she also admits that some alcohol was involved—hence the use of the word “wet.”
Conviction of a wet reckless carries lesser fines than a DUI. There is, generally, no required jail time. I say generally because the charge actually carries 5 days jail minimum, but most judge's do not impose that minimum time- however, you want to discuss this with your attorney prior to entering any plea deal on a wet reckless. The probation period may also be shorter than a DUI.   A DUI's probationary period is three to five years.
You should, however, be aware that the state is extremely reluctant to plead an DUI down because of the public view of the danger of drunk driving.

Therefore, it is generally a plea reserved for cases where  the blood alcohol count was close to the legal threshold of 0.8% or just on the borderline of 0.8%.  It is also offered, sometimes, not always, on drug DUI cases as well.  A wet reckless can be driving recklessly with alcohol or drugs in your system. 

Nevertheless, in a DUI case where there are extremely good defenses, we've been able to negotiate wet reckless dispositions in cases where clients have multiple DUI's in the past or high blood alcohol cases.  In a nutshell, anything is possible.

California drivers should be aware that, while the penalties are lower for a wet reckless than for a DUI, if a driver is arrested a second or subsequent time within 10 years of the wet reckless conviction, the wet reckless will then be counted as a prior DUI/DWI.

A second arrest or subsequent arrest for a DUI will therefore carry the higher penalties associated with repeat offenders.

Do you need to talk to a drunk driving defense lawyer? Please contact us.

Category: DUI Defense

Michael Mitchell


Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.