DUID Penalties in California: Vehicle Code Section 23152(a)
February 10, 2010

In California, it is a crime to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The legal limit alcohol (measured in a percentage of blood alcohol content) is .08 percent. California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) states that is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. However, Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) states that it is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.

The practical meaning of Section 23152(a) is that law enforcement does not have to prove that you are under the influence of drugs or narcotics until after they have pulled you over and formed a reasonable suspicion that you may be driving under the influence. It is easier for law enforcement to form a reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of alcohol and the reasonably reliable breathalyzer test is a quick way to prove it one way or the other. However, in determining if you are under the influence of drugs or narcotics, law enforcement may not be able to readily determine what kind of drug or narcotic you may be under the influence of.

Law enforcement will usually look for side effects of drugs or narcotics to form their reasonable suspicion that the driver may be under the influence. Some common indicators are droopy eyes, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and slower motor skills. If officers “notice” any of these signs, they may ask to perform a field sobriety test or may even arrest you on the spot—without actual proof that you are under the influence of drugs or narcotics. Law enforcement can even arrest you for being under the influence of prescription drugs if they feel that the drugs are impairing your driving ability.

If you or a loved one find yourself facing a DUI charge, it is important to seek knowledgeable legal counsel. At Wallin and Klarich, our DUI attorneys have the experience and skills needed to provide you with the best defense against your DUI charge. Our Southern California DUI attorneys will explain the legal process that occurs following a DUI arrest which can be very complicated. Our DUI attorneys have the necessary expertise to seek ways to get charges reduced and ensure your rights are protected. Contact our aggressive attorneys today by calling (877) 466-5245 for more information. We will be there when you call.

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