Wet Reckless vs Dry Reckless Charge Reductions

Posted by Neil Shouse | Aug 02, 2009 | 0 Comments

Much of the negotiations between prosecutors and DUI defense attorneys involve reducing a DUI charge to a wet reckless or a dry reckless. Both of these reduced charges fall under California Vehicle Code 23103, the statute defining reckless driving.

The difference between the two is that a “wet reckless” is a special form of reckless driving in which the record of conviction specifies that alcohol was involved. The “wet” version of reckless driving counts as the functional equivalent of a DUI conviction.

Suppose, for example, that a person pleads guilty to a reduced charge of wet reckless. Now suppose he gets arrested and convicted of a DUI charge within 10 years. The new DUI will count as a second offense, and second-time penalties are exponentially greater. Even though the first DUI got reduced to a wet reckless, the law still treats it as a prior DUI conviction.

A dry reckless under California law, however, does not count as a DUI prior. If a person with a dry reckless conviction picks up another DUI, the new DUI gets treated as a first offense.

We believe this distinction is of great importance. Many clients say “I'm not worried about ‘priorability.' I learned my lesson. I'll never pick up another DUI.” But 10 years is a long time. Many things can happen. People unexpectedly pick up second DUIs all the time. For that reason, it's always better to negotiate a DUI down to a dry rather than a wet reckless. (Refer to our article, "Can a plea bargain help me in California DUI cases?")

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370