Sacramento DUI Plea Bargains

Although thousands of California drivers are arrested for DUI offenses each year, statistics estimate that only about 5% of these cases actually go to trial. Although a good DUI attorney always prepares for the courtroom, the reality is that most DUI cases are resolved by negotiations or plea bargains long before they reach that point.


Plea bargains are a useful tool to use in the defense of DUI arrests. One of the main benefits is the ability to know what your punishment will be before you actually have to plead guilty to the crime. Compare this to the alternative of a jury trial where the outcome is never guaranteed until the case is over.


Although plea bargains can significantly reduce or sometimes eliminate the charges that drunk drivers face, this is not a tactic to employ without the help of a professional. The skilled attorneys at the Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka have successfully negotiated countless plea bargains on behalf of their clients. They understand what tactics work best to help DUI victims try and decrease potential fines, reduce their sentences and maintain their driving privileges.

If you or someone you know is facing a DUI charge, contact our offices today at 916-706-0678 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team of professionals will be happy to discuss your case and answer any questions you have about possibly reducing your DUI sentence.


While the best kind of plea bargain strategy varies depending on the evidence of the crime, here are a few of the most common in California DUI cases.



  • Of course the best since the case is dismissed


  • If you did not win the DMV APS, then still will have license suspension issues

Dry Reckless

Using this plea removes much of the stigma of drugs or alcohol being involved while still showing that reckless driving has taken place. Many California DUI attorneys would argue that reducing a DUI to Dry Reckless is an excellent outcome.


  • Potentially no jail time
  • Decreases fines
  • Prevents a conviction license suspension
  • Does NOT count as a priorable offense
  • No DUI program as a result of the conviction
  • Shorter probation
  • Less impact to affect auto insurance rates


  • Still adds points to your DMV record (too many points will cause a driver to lose their license)
  • If you did not win the DMV APS hearing, may still have to do a DUI class

Wet Reckless

The most often used plea is what is known as a “wet reckless.” The term “wet” means that the arrest involved alcohol or drugs while “reckless” is a downgrade from DUI to reckless driving.

Most prosecutors are open to considering this type of plea bargain, as it still satisfies the majority of the results they typically look for and the BA level is low.


  • Potentially no jail time
  • Decreases fines
  • No license suspension as a result of a conviction


  • Still counts as a prior (If convicted of another DUI within ten years, it would be considered a repeat offense)
  • Adds points to your DMV record (too many points will cause a driver to lose their license)
  • If you did not win the DMV APS hearing, may still have to do a DUI class
  • Includes probation


Another type of resolution that go hand-in-hand with both Wet and Dry Reckless is what is commonly referred to as a “Helmandollar.” Many are unaware that California DUI offenses involve both administrative and criminal penalties. Criminal penalties are managed by the court system while administrative penalties are handled through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

If you go to trial and are acquitted (not guilty) on all of the DUI charges, your privilege to drive will be reinstated.

However, if you can get a dry or wet reckless as a resolution in court before trial, without a Helmandollar, if DMV administratively suspended your license, it isn't over. Without a finding of acquittal on the VC 23152 (b) which is the .08 or higher, DMV will not set-aside the administrative suspension.

A Helmandollar is something that is typically negotiated with the DA so that there is a finding of not guilty for driving with a BAC of .08 or higher. A successful Helmandollar overrides any action taken by the DMV and restores your full driving privileges. It is one of the few instances where court orders can overturn a DMV administrative finding.

As you can imagine, a HelmanDollar is a very popular type of resolution. If you have a commercial license, it can mean everything for your license and work.

To successfully execute a HelmanDollar is not an easy task. It requires building a strong defense, being familiar with the entire DUI process and knowing how and when to negotiate a settlement.

Having an experienced DUI lawyer on your side can significantly increase your chances of success. The professionals at the Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka can help you determine the best type of DUI plea bargain for your case and guide you through the complicated process of achieving results. For more information, contact our office today at 916-706-0678 to set up a free consultation and discuss the details of your case.


While Wet Reckless, Dry Reckless and HelmanDollar are normally considered the “big three” there are additional plea bargain types that can used under the right circumstances.

Drinking in a vehicle - If prosecutors suspect that someone may have been drinking, but doing so did not significantly affect their ability to drive.

Drunk in public - When it is clear that someone was drunk, but the proof that they were driving is not clear or provable, this tactic may be used.

Exhibition of speed or reckless driving - May be utilized in an instance where the prosecution believes a full-blown DUI conviction (for lack of evidence or otherwise) is not possible.

Traffic infractions - Usually the least likely option - traffic infraction pleas may come into play if the prosecution has a weak case because of inconclusive evidence or improper procedures.

Although less commonly employed, these additional plea bargain types can still be accepted depending on the facts and history surrounding a case. As always, you should seek the advice of competent legal counsel before deciding on which course of action is right for you.


Plea bargains are not something that just happen on their own. It takes research on the part of a good DUI lawyer to examine the evidence of an arrest and convince the prosecution of any holes in their case. This type of attention to detail is what opens the doors to negotiation and allows Kaizuka DUI law firm clients to come out on top.

If you think a DUI plea bargain may apply in your case, or if you have any other questions about DUI offenses, contact our offices at 916-706-0678 and we will give you the honest answers that you need. Consultations are always free and there is never an obligation to simply talk to us.

You have nothing to lose. Call now!