Under certain circumstances, a trial court will dismiss a DUI charge. Some DUI cases are dismissed after a procedural violation has come to light, such as a violation of the defendant’s rights during the arraignment or preliminary hearing. More frequently, courts will dismiss DUI charges because the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to bring the case to trial. This usually occurs if the defendant successfully moves to exclude evidence of their intoxication because it was obtained in violation of their rights (such as if police pulled them over without reasonable suspicion or probable cause) or because breath or blood test results are deemed unreliable.

Alternatively, California allows for DUI charges to be reduced to less-serious charges of either “wet reckless” driving or “dry reckless” driving. Both charges offer reduced penalties when compared to DUI charges. They differ from one another in that a “wet reckless” driving conviction will count as a prior DUI conviction if the individual is convicted of a DUI offense within the next 10 years.