Reducing to a Lesser Offense with California DUI Lawyers

There are several different ways in which a DUI offense may be reduced to a lesser charge in California. DUI lawyers, if they have experience negotiating with prosecutors, should work first and foremost to reduce the severity of the charges. The three discussed here will be 1) reduction to a ‘wet reckless’ offense; 2) reduction to a ‘dry’ reckless offense; and 3) reduction to a traffic infraction.


A ‘wet’ reckless reduction implies the involvement of alcohol or drugs in the offense. However, it is not considered a charge for which a person can be arrested; instead, it is a first-level prosecutorial reduction for a DUI and is offered as a plea bargain only (as per CA Vehicle Code 23103.5 VC). California DUI lawyers may use a ‘wet’ reckless plea because it can often mean lesser probation periods, lesser sentencing enhancements for subsequent DUI offenses, no mandatory jail time, and even avoidance of a driver’s license suspension. However, although there are advantages to taking this plea for a reduction in penalties, there are also disadvantages. For example, a ‘wet reckless’ conviction is treated the same way as any other DUI would be – it is still priorable.


A ‘dry’ reckless plea is different than a ‘wet’ reckless one. A ‘dry’ reckless plea connotes no relationship to alcohol or drugs and is another way (and often the best-case scenario) to lessen one’s penalties for a DUI. Like a ‘wet’ reckless charge, it involves a reduction in sentencing, fines, and penalties as part of a plea bargain. This could mean reduced time in jail as well (if any sentence is imposed at all), no mandatory penalties, no forcible admission and completion of an alcohol/drug education and counseling program and no suspension of one’s driver’s license. The difference between a ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ reckless is that one is still priorable, while the other is not. A person, for example, may have a good chance at getting a ‘dry’ plea to work if their BAC is very close to .08% and the case against them is quite weak to begin with.


Reductions in one’s sentence or penalties may also be brought down to the level of a traffic infraction. Rarely, California DUI lawyers may be able to get a DUI charge thrown out, or at least reduced to a traffic infraction. Examples of traffic infractions might be an ‘exhibition of speed’ charge (CA Vehicle Code 23109 (c)) or a moving violation (or combination thereof). While this is, again, not common, these particular violations carry quite small penalties and charges when compared to a DUI charge. Often there are no probation, fines, or jail time required for these crimes in California. DUI lawyers from Summit Defense will work to reduce a jailable offense to one that will only affect your standing at the DMV.


A reduction of a DUI to the level of a traffic infraction is only considered a ‘last resort’ for many. If there are extenuating circumstances in a particular individual’s case, however, this may be an option. For instance, if there is a weak case against you, if the BAC reading is questionable, or if the police did not follow proper procedure, then there may be a possibility that your charges can be reduced to a traffic infraction. The first step is to call the renowned California DUI lawyers at Summit Defense.