California Vehicle Code 23152 VC

VC 23152 – California DUI Types

VC 23152 - California DUI

Every California DUI – Table of Contents

California Driving under the influence Overview

California takes Driving under the influence (DUI) cases very seriously. For the majority of California motorists, the maximum legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) while operating a motor vehicle is 0.08%. If you are driving with a Blood alcohol Concentration greater than 0.08% and are pulled over you will be arrested and likely charged with two separate misdemeanor offenses:

  1. California DUI Vehicle Penal Code 23152(a)
  2. California DUI Vehicle Penal Code 23152(b)
    (Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater)

For a prosecutor to successfully convict you of driving under the influence, he or she must prove the two elements of the case:

  1. You were driving a motor vehicle
  2. While driving that motor vehicle you were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol

If the prosecutor cannot prove these two elements of the California Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Vehicle case then a conviction should not take place.

The first element that must be proven is that you were driving a motor vehicle. If for instance, you were driving a car and the officer pulled you over and that was the entire incident then it is not difficult to prove you were the driver. However, if an officer arrived at the scene of the accident late and everyone was out of their car then it becomes increasingly difficult for an officer to prove that you were the driver.

In California, it’s required that the officer sees some movement of the California Driving Under the Influence (DUI) vehicle to prove you were driving. However, this can also be proven through circumstantial evidence.

The second element of the case that the prosecutor must prove is that you were under the influence of drugs and/or blood alcohol concentration while driving that California Driving Under the Influence (DUI) vehicle. The state defines being under the influence as: “Your physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that you no longer have the ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances”.

Field Sobriety Tests

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Field sobriety tests are one of several factors officers use to determine if you have been operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of blood alcohol concentration. Officers use the results of these tests to influence their decision as whether or not they should administer more tests; namely, the breathalyzer test or a blood alcohol concentration test.

California first started using the results of field sobriety tests in the early 1970s and the results are a crucial piece of evidence. But some scientists are weary of the science used in developing these tests and question the ability of an officer to determine a driver’s sobriety test based off their results.

Field sobriety tests are not mandatory!

If an officer has reasonable suspicion and believes you’ve been drinking, namely through looking at driving cues, smelling alcohol on your breath, and/or witnessing indicating movements of your eyes, then that officer will ask you to take a field sobriety test. If you don’t want to take the test, then the officer must proceed and he or she must drop the issue. However, it will be noted if you refuse to take the test and added to the police report. You have the right to refuse a field sobriety test but you don’t have the right to refuse a chemical test.

When you receive our license you consent to take either a breath, blood alcohol concentration, or urine test to determine if you’ve been drinking. If you refuses to take either a breath, blood alcohol concentration, or urine test, then you automatically lose your driving license for one year and face additional fees and fines.

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Here’s a full outline of Los Angeles Field Sobriety Tests and their flaws.

Chemical Tests

Chemical test have been used in California for many years, but there are a lot of skeptics who don’t believe they are a reliable way to measure somebodies blood alcohol concentration. A breathalyzer test is used to prove a subject is guilty by measuring the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath. Breathalyzer tests are administered to an arrestee at the spot of the crime.

Many states require that a subject provides two samples. The two samples must measure within 0.020 units of each other for the test to be considered properly administered. If the two samples do not measure within 0.020 units of each other there will be speculation that the instrument or the operator weren’t working improperly.

There are several factors that can potentially alter a breathalyzer reading:

  • If the subject ate something prior to the test.
  • If the subject burped during the test.
  • If the subject used mouth care strips, tobacco, or an inhaler with 15 minutes of the test.
  • If the subject was exposed to acetone or is an uncontrolled diabetic.

It’s important to note that you’re only required to take a breathalyzer test or give a blood alcohol concentration sample, but not both. Under some rare circumstances when both a subject’s breath and blood alcohol concentration are not available then a urine test will suffice.

It is illegal for an officer to lead an arrestee towards one test over the other. For instance, it’s been recorded that some officers try to force arrestees into taking a breathalyzer test by claiming that he or she will sit in jail until the blood technician is available. In actuality, some officers prefer breathalyzer tests because the results are more immediate.

On the other hand, officers have also been known to lead an arrestee to take a blood alcohol concentration test because they are thought to be more accurate. Either way, a subject is only required to give one sample.

The decision as officer to which to give is completely up to the arrestee. If an officer attempts to lead a defendant one way or the other then that can be used against the officer in court.

Under 21 DUI

California exercises a “zero tolerance” policy in regards to driving while under the influence of blood alcohol concentrationfor people under 21.  Depending on your blood alcohol concentration you could be charged with the following:

  • CA Vehicle Penal Code 23136 VC: California’s Zero Tolerance Law (Civil Offense)
  • CA Vehicle Penal Code 23140 VC: Under 21 with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05% – 0.07% (Infraction)
  • CA Vehicle Penal Code 23152 VC: Driving Under the Influence (Misdemeanor)

Your level of intoxication, your criminal history, and the details of the crime are the deciding factors in how the prosecutor will charge you. If you are under 21 and have a blood alcohol concentration of even 0.01% while driving you will be charged with a crime.

Because California exercises a “zero tolerance” policy the punishments for each crime are harsh.

For a full understanding read the DUI Under 21 article.

Out-of-State California DUI

If you have recently been arrested by officer for a California DUI vehicle, CA VC 23152, and you don’t live in California, or have an out-of-state driver’s license, there are several steps that you must take to ensure minimal impact on your driving privileges and criminal record. The two most important things to do are:

  1. Schedule a DMV Hearing within 10 days of your arrest
  2. Hire a skilled dui los angeles criminal defense attorney

An out-of-state DUI includes those on vacation in California and anyone who recently moved to California who has yet to register in the state.

It’s important to note that if you’ve recently moved to California you have 30 days to go to the DMV and get a California driver’s license. If you are pulled over and the officer can prove that you’ve been a resident for more than 30 days you can be cited for Driving Without a License, California DUI Vehicle Penal Code 12500(a), a misdemeanor.

Once you’ve been arrested for a VC 23152 Penal Code (DUI) the arresting officer will:

  • If you’re a California resident, confiscate your California driver’s license and give you a temporary driver’s license. The temporary deriver’s license will expire in 30 days, which will begin your drivers license suspension.
  • If you’re not a California resident, give you a notification stating that your driving privileges in California will be suspended in 30 days.

For a full understanding read the Out-of-State DUI article.

Commercial California DUI

If you’ve recently been arrested by officer for a DUI and have a commercial driver’s license then it’s crucial that you contact a los angeles criminal defense attorney immediately. Even if you were not driving a commercial California DUI vehicle at the time of your arrest you are still subjugated to increased penalties.

When driving a commercial California DUI vehicle you are allowed a maximum blood alcohol concentration of 0.04%. However, if you are not driving a commercial California DUI vehicle at the time of incident then you are allowed a maximum blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, just like the majority of motorists.

Similar to DUI for persons under 21, California has a very strict policy for those who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol who have a commercial driver’s license.

For a full understanding read the Commercial DUI article.

DUI with Bodily Injury, California DUI Vehicle Penal Code 23153

To be found guilty of DUI with bodily injury, Vehicle Penal Code 23153 VC, a prosecutor must prove three variables:

  1. That a driver was driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of drugs and alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater (for commercial drivers the blood alcohol concentration only needs to be 0.04%).
  2. That the driver performed an illegal driving action other than the DUI.
  3. The additional driving offense caused bodily injury to another person, other than the driver.

VC 23153 is commonly referred to as a felony DUI, however, a defendant can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on several variables.

For a full understanding read the DUI with bodily injury article.

DMV Driver’s License Hearing for DUI

The two most important steps that you must take regardless of what type of DUI you’ve experienced are:

  1. Hire a los angeles criminal defense attorney
  2. Schedule your DMV Driver’s License Hearing

There are two very important things to note about a driver license hearing, first and foremost, it is not your court date and secondly, a hearing is not mandatory for a VC 23152 DUI charge. Upon being released from jail you will have ten days to request a driver license hearing from the DMV’s Office of Driver Safety. This hearing will pertain to the suspension and evocation of your drivers license, the hearing will not decide if you are guilty or innocent of a crime.

It is also important to note that you have the right to represent yourself during the hearing or hire counsel.

Hearings are typically performed telephonically, unless an individual requests a hearing to be performed in person. If an individual contacts the department and schedules a hearing by phone then later seeks counsel, the counsel has the opportunity to write to the department to change the scheduling. The hearings typically take place at a DMV field office near the spot of the arrest or at a different location if both parties can agree.

For a full understanding read the DMV Driver’s License Hearing article.

A Brief History of DUI Laws

In 1910, California became the second state (behind New York) to adopt laws prohibiting people from driving while inebriated. The laws were vague and simply stated that it was illegal for a driver to operate a California DUI vehicle while intoxicated. The law did not however, specify what constituted intoxication though it was commonly believed to be 0.15%.

Laws pertaining to driving while intoxicated did not drastically change until the 1980’s with the formation of groups like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) and others who pressured law makers into adopting stricter laws. MADD is largely responsible for the zero tolerance law for motorists under 21 that the many state still practices today.

More DUI Resources

For more information on how to handle a DUI charge or arrest, please feel free to browse our blog articles on California DUI:

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one is being charged with violation of VC 23152 (DUI) in California, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office, or by phone. Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.

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How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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