The most recent DMV statistics available indicate that about 85% of those charged with driving under the influence end up getting convicted of that crime.
The remainder are either not convicted or convicted of a reduced charge. A REDUCED charge conviction usually is the result of a plea bargain made with the prosecutor.
A defense attorney has the best chance of negotiating a reduced charge to a DUI when one or more of the following circumstances occur:
-The evidence supporting the DUI arrest is weak,
-It is a first-time DUI,
-The timing of the BAC or Blood test was unduly delayed,
-The calibration and maintenance records for the BAC equipment indicates irregularities,
-The defendant has no criminal history and a good driving record,
-BAC was tested very close to the threshold limit of 0.08%, and/or
-The circumstances of the stop or arrest suggest a constitutional violation.
A DUI suspect does not have to accept a plea bargain offer, but it is often in his or her best interest to do so when a reduced charge is offered.
Is A "Wet Reckless" Plea Bargain By The District Attorney Really A Good Deal?
The most common reduced charge offered is what is called a “wet reckless” in violation of Vehicle Code section 23103.5. A wet reckless under the statute is a substitute for a DUI, which alleges reckless driving with some alcohol (or drugs) involved.
While it is still characterized as a misdemeanor, a wet reckless carries much lower fines and subjects the offender to less of a chance of jail time. Unlike a DUI, a wet reckless conviction does not mandate a license suspension. 
It is possible that as part of the plea negotiation, the offender will not have his or her license suspended by the court. The DMV may set aside any suspension as well.
A wet reckless conviction requires far fewer DUI school hours than even a first-time DUI conviction. Further, a wet reckless, unlike a DUI, has no requirement that the offender serve probation.  
However, a wet reckless counts as a “priorable” DUI offense, meaning that it counts as a DUI on any subsequent DUI conviction the driver may receives within the subsequent ten years.  Thus, it will appear on the offender’s criminal history as a misdemeanor conviction.
Dry Reckless
While a wet reckless conviction is far preferable to a DUI conviction, in some instances, a defense attorney may be able to successfully negotiate what is referred to a “dry reckless” under Vehicle Code section 23103. A dry reckless conviction is a misdemeanor, but it does not count as a “priorable” DUI offense.
Furthermore, a dry reckless conviction does not require that the offender attend DUI classes and does not result in the automatic suspension of the offender’s driver’s license.
As the name implies, a dry reckless is a charge of reckless driving without any allegation of driver involved alcohol or drugs. Negotiating a reduced charge to dry reckless is most often successful when the prosecution’s evidence is weak or when there is a strong chance that the evidence may be successfully suppressed by the DUI suspect’s attorney because the stop or arrest was unlawful.
These two plea bargain options illustrate how important it is to consult a DUI defense attorney before any appearance in court on a DUI. An attorney experienced in defending drivers arrested for driving under the influence can evaluate the circumstances surrounding the stop, the arrest and the evidence supporting the DUI charge thereby identifying any available plea bargain strategies.
While the alleged offender is not required to enter into a plea bargain with the prosecution, it is often the smartest strategy offering the best outcome.
If you or someone you care about has been arrested for driving under the influence, North Bay DUI defense attorneys Michael A. Fiumara and Justin O. Milligan, who have over 40 years of experience defending DUIs, can help.
Is A "Wet Reckless" Plea Bargain By The District Attorney Really A Good Deal?Is A "Wet Reckless" Plea Bargain By The District Attorney Really A Good Deal?
Call us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for a FREE and strictly confidential consultation. We have 2 conveniently located offices in San Rafael and Santa Rosa.
WE believe, “The Right Attorney Makes All The Difference,” and you will too!
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