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Many times I have people calling my office with a lot of misinformation about a DUI and what is commonly referred to as a "wet reckless" although there is no such term in the Calfornia Penal Code.  If you have been arrested or cited for a alcohol related offense give us a call. I have been helping people for more than 14 years in these type of situations and can get you through this time.

When you have been involved in an alcohol related driving offense there are many legal terms that will be thrown around.  The most common terms are DUI, DWI, and "wet reckless".  The term DUI stands for driving under the influence, and is interchangeable with the term DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated.  The state of California only uses the term DUI when either drug or alcohol induced driving is at issue. 

There is a difference between a DUI conviction and a "wet reckless conviction.  

The "wet reckess" charge was devised to provide an incentive for DUI defendant to enter into a plea bargain, in fact wet reckless is not something you can be arrested for.  There is technically no actual law on the books that defines "wet reckless" instead 23103.5 allows a defendant to make an admission to a lesser charge of CVC 23103 driving with a notation that alcohol was involved.  


1. Mandatory fines may be reduced. 

2. Mandatory alcohol related classes may be reduced. 

3. Jail time will likely be eliminated. This is helpful if you have a prior alcohol related driving offense. A "wet reckless" does not require mandatory jail time. 

4. Some California counties mandate the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle after a dui conviction and a "wet" reckless can eliminate that requirement.

5. It could be helpful in in obtaining or keeping employment. 


1. Your "wet reckless" will still be reported to the DMV and the DMV will treat it the same as a DUI in terms of suspension of your drivers license. 

2. The "wet reckless" will stay on your record for a period of 10 years.

3. You "wet" reckless will still be used as a prior offense for up to 10 years, the same as a DUI, if you are convicted of another alcohol related driving offense in the future. 

As you can see a "wet reckless will not eliminate many of the punitive requirements that accompany a DUI , but there are several reasons wha a "wet" reckless is preferrable to a DUI. 

The requirements or the reasons for a plea of "wet" reckless are many.  There could be a weak case, or the prosecutor cannot prove what your BAC was at the time of driving. There could be other reasons.  Usually we will sit down with a client and go over the facts of the case from there perspective, and then go through the case. 

we will look at mvers which are the cameras on top of the patrol vehicles

the body cams worn by the officers

read the calibration logs for the device used to measure the amount of alcohol in the blood. 

the police reports and any witness reports that we have that may contradict the officers statement.  We will then go to the DMV hearing to get further informaiton regarding the case and fight the DMV portion even if we are not successful at this poin the DMV hearing will further educate us on the possible defenses for your case. 

Also, if you have no priors and you have a BAC that is very close the legal limit of .08 or above then you may obtain a "wet" reckless, although I have had clients come in saying different Attorneys promised they could have a case reduced, promises should  not be made in criminal or for that matter any legal case all cases are different.  Stay away from Attorneys that tell you promises.  

If you have any questions give us a call at 559-441-1418.


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Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
5588 N Palm Ave,
Fresno, CA 93704
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Phone: 559.441.1418