California DUI – Wet and Reckless Reduced Charge

Plea Bargin Down from a DUI charge to a ‘Wet Reckless’ charge

This is a charge to the lesser included offense of violation of
23103. The term wet reckless does not actual appear anywhere in the

Instead, a 23103 conviction is specially permitted where (1) the defendant pleads guilty to a California DUI violation of 23103, in satisfaction of or as a substitute for, an original charge of non-injury drunk driving 23152, (2) the prosecutor states for the record a factual basis, including facts disclosing whether or not alcohol or drugs were consumed, and (3) the court advises the defendant of the drunk driving sentence enhancement consequences of the conviction (23103.5).

Wet Reckless 23103.5
1. Counts as a prior conviction is convicted again within 10 years.
2. Insurance companies treat it as a California DUI.

A "dry" reckless is also an occasional disposition in a DUI. Where
"dry" reckless is the disposition, there need not (and must not) be
compliance with 23103.5. That’s because the separate offense of
reckless driving could have been charged in the first place.
Therefore it’s not a satisfaction or substitution (23103.5) for a
drunk driving charge.

A "dry" reckless conviction results where a charge of violation of
23103 is simply added to the complaint as an offense that could have
been charged originally, the defendant pleads guilty to it, and the
DUI charge is dismissed.

To be certain that the conviction will not become a DUI sentence
enhancement in the future, be sure to state that the conviction is
understood by all to be "not in accordance with 23103.5". And be sure
the clerk understands that Disposition Code "R" does not go on the
abstract sent to the DMV.


Approximately 17 years ago, the legislature created a new statute
known as "wet reckless" – reckless driving that is related to alcohol
(Vehicle Code Section 23103.5). It is a bazaar fiction that there is
no requirement that there is any reckless driving. The legislature’s
purpose was to encourage plea bargains in close cases – giving
defendants a reason to plead guilty and yet giving to government a
way to get convictions. The following are the approximate usual
penalties imposed for cases reduced from a DUI to a "wet reckless"
(as of March 1999):

$600 – 1,200.00 in fines;
three years of "informal probation"

It is important to remember that a person who receives this reduction is still viewed as having suffered a “prior” DUI conviction should they receive another DUI arrest in California the next ten years. This means you are treated the same by the DA and the judge as if you had pled to a DUI instead of the wet reckless. DMV and insurance companies treat the charges the same also (Two points against your license and increased insurance premiums).

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