DUI vs. Wet Reckless

If you are looking at this post and wondering about a Wet Reckless vs. a DUI there are a lot of similarities between a DUI and a Wet Reckless. However, there are a few big differences between the two in consequence.


The term, DUI “driving under the influence,” describes driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether your driving ability was actually impaired.

  • DUI classes
  • Minimum Jail Time

1st Offense 4 days

  • California state law now requires the use of an ignition interlock device, even for first-time offenders.
  • If a driver kills or injures someone as the result of driving while under the influence of alcohol (or having a blood alcohol level higher than 0.08% or more in those states that punish this separately), the person can be found guilty of a felony and could go to state prison for years. Prior convictions for misdemeanor under-the-influence or over-0.08% will usually result in a longer prison sentence.
  • Fines range from a minimum $500 and vary depending on county policy.
  • Depending on the blood alcohol level, you will be facing a mandatory suspension of your privilege to drive.
  • A prior DUI can be used to enhance an alcohol related death to homicide

Wet Reckless

The term “wet reckless,” is used to describe a reduced plea arrangement made by a driver arrested for driving with a measureable amount of alcohol that does not rise to the .08% DUI threshold.


  • Does not carry the same consequences as a DUI
  • The DUI class is less intensive—six weeks instead of 12 because only the educational component of the DUI program needs to be completed.
  • The fine is significantly less.
  • The conviction will not result in a license suspension in most cases. However, if your BAC is greater than .08 your license will be suspended anyway.
  • The conviction will not necessarily result in a suspension of your commercial license.
  • The probationary period for a wet reckless in California is usually one or two years
  • There is no mandatory jail time on a wet reckless and the maximum jail time for a wet reckless is 90 days.
  • 2nd Offenses: If the driver later is arrested for a DUI within 10 years of the earlier offense, the wet reckless will likely be treated like a prior-DUI conviction. In other words, the newer arrest will be handled as if it were a second DUI offense (with the accompanying penalties).