How Exactly Is A DUI Defined Under California State Law?
In California, a DUI charge can include driving under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or a combination of both alcohol and drugs. In order to successfully prosecute a person for DUI, the prosecution has the huge burden of convincing a judge or jury that the person was under the influence and impaired by the alcohol, drug, or combination of the two while at the time of driving. In many cases, the prosecution cannot successfully prove that the person was driving or the prosecution cannot establish the exact time of driving. It is not enough to show that the person had an elevated level of alcohol or drugs in his or her body at some later time after driving. That is not enough. Many DUI cases are regularly won by having a skilled DUI lawyer review the case and establish reasonable doubt against the prosecution’s case.
When it comes to DUI cases involving allegations of alcohol only, California currently has two methods of charging a person with DUI. The first charge is California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a), which I commonly refer to as “general DUI.” With a charge of 23152(a), the prosecution basically has to show that the person was drunk driving. Meaning, while driving, it must be shown that the person’s mental or physical abilities were so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances. Basically, the person is drunk driving. The second charge is California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) which is basically summarized as driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. This code section has always been troubling to me as a DUI lawyer because it is virtually impossible for a person to know when he or she is driving with a .07% blood alcohol content vs. driving with a .10% blood alcohol content. For many people, the difference would not even be perceptible. Nevertheless, California criminalizes everyone who the prosecution can show was driving with a .08% or higher.
When it comes to drug DUI cases, the main charge is California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f). With this charge, the prosecution has to show the person was so under the influence and impaired by a drug that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances. Currently, California does not have an equivalent for drug DUIs that exist for the .08% blood alcohol content DUI charge under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b). A charge of drug DUI can include both legal and illegal drugs. It is not a defense that a person had a valid doctor’s prescription for a drug. If he or she is driving under the influence and impaired by a drug, then he or she can be charged with drug DUI under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f). From years of experience, a drug DUI case can be very problematic for prosecutors to successfully win, and my office has had a great deal of success in winning these cases.
For more information on DUI Charges In The State Of California, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (818) 538-5777 today.
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