Wet Reckless or DUI

Wet Reckless in California

Reckless Driving Involving Alcohol

A Wet Reckless is the nickname for the California Vehicle Code (VC) Section 23103 per VC 23013.5 charge of reckless driving involving alcohol.

If the prosecutor feels the DUI case against you has some weaknesses, for example:-

  • When your breath test or blood test result is close to .08
  • And if your driving and Field Sobriety Tests are not bad

… then the prosecutor might offer a plea bargain that is called a Wet Reckless.

A Wet Reckless is really a kinder, gentler DUI, a watered down DUI if you will. You can’t get charged with a Wet Reckless – you can only get charged with a DUI then get your charge downgraded to a Wet Reckless.

A Wet Reckless is a ‘prior’ on your record, which means if you get another DUI in the next 10 years it will be considered your second DUI because the Wet Reckless counts against you just like a first time DUI.

One nice thing about a Wet Reckless is that you will not have to install an Ignition Interlock Device on the steering wheel of your car for 5 months like you have to do if you are convicted of a DUI in court.

Another potential benefit of a Wet Reckless instead of a DUI is that if you want to travel to Canada, a DUI on your record might prevent you from being able to enter Canada while with a Wet Reckless on your record you hopefully can enter Canada without a problem. See Entering the U.S. and Canada with DUI offenses.

DUI versus Wet Reckless

Wet Reckless

  • Little less in fines
  • Shorter probation period
  • Shorter alcohol program
  • No court suspension on your license
  • Puts 2 points on your license
  • Insurance rates will go up
  • Stays on your record for 10 years
  • You can hopefully enter Canada
  • No Ignition Interlock Device required
  • Sounds and looks better on your record


  • Little more in fines
  • Longer probation period
  • Longer alcohol program
  • Court can suspend your license
  • Puts 2 points on your license
  • Insurance rates will go up
  • Stays on your record for 10 years
  • May prevent you from entering Canada
  • Ignition Interlock Device required for 5 months
  • Sounds and looks worse on your record

Similarities between a DUI & a Wet Reckless

The similarities between a DUI and a Wet Reckless are they both involve probation, fines, an alcohol class, and 2 points on your license record. A Wet Reckless can sometimes result in a lower fine, a shorter probation period, and a shorter alcohol program.

A Wet Reckless sounds and looks better on your record than a DUI.

The problems with a Wet Reckless are:

  • It is essentially a DUI on your record
  • Insurance companies usually treat it as a DUI (leading to much higher insurance rates)
  • It puts 2 points on your driver’s license

Dry Reckless / Speed Ex

Reckless Driving not involving alcohol

A Dry Reckless in contrast to a Wet Reckless driving is reckless driving not involving alcohol and does not go on your record for 10 years like a DUI. A Dry Reckless cannot be used against you as a prior like a Wet Reckless does and thus is a better plea bargain than a Wet Reckless.

If your Breath Results were .06, .07 or .08 then you really want to fight the DUI charges and try to get the plea bargain of a Dry Reckless (Reckless Driving not involving alcohol) or Exhibition of Speeding (Speed Ex). These charges are not alcohol-related and do not hang over your head for 10 years like a DUI and Wet Reckless do.

California Vehicle Codes Legislative Information:

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