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DUI Defense: California

California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) Law & Defense

California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a), or simply VC 23152(a), is the most common criminal charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI).

According to VC 23152(a) 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."

Notice that the words "0.08% or higher" are not included in the language of VC 23152(a). Generally the language of '0.08% or higher' by Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), is considered the legal limit in California.

However, there is no true legal limit in California when it comes to DUI. When the law speaks of '0.08% or higher' this simply means that legally a jury is permitted to presume that the driver is under the influence of alcohol when the defendant's BAC is proved to be 0.08% or more at the time of driving.

This means that even if the defendant's Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC, is found to be less than 0.08%, the defendant may still be charged with a California DUI under VC 23152(a). The only difference between VC 23152(a) and 23152(b) [commonly called the per se charge] is that there is no presumption of DUI under the VC 23152(a) charge. This simply means that where the defendant is charged with VC 23152(a), the defendant is entitled to a presumption that he is not DUI and the district attorney must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was in fact DUI. Under VC 23152(b), the jury is entitled to presume that the defendant would have been influenced by alcohol if he was in fact driving. 

The penalties for a conviction of a California DUI under VC 23152(a) are no less severe than the penalties for the better known, though slightly less common, DUI charge of VC 23152(b) [Better known as the per se charge of the legal limit charge].

The penalties for a plea of guilty or a finding of guilty under VC 23152(a), include up to 180 days in jail for a first offense, license suspension (in addition to any suspension the DMV may have already imposed), mandatory DUI classes, fines, possible mandatory installation of ignition interlock device, impounding of vehicle, mandatory SR-22 insurance, probation terms (which include many restrictions on alcohol use and possible AA meetings), possible immigration consequences (for non-U.S. citizens), possible professional or occupational revocation or suspension (such as nursing license, etc.). 

For DUI charges where prior DUI convictions are alleged there are sever consequences. The penalties include many of the penalties listed above for a first time DUI conviction but also include, mandatory extended 18 month DUI classes, more severe probation terms, longer possible jail sentences (up to a year), and more.

Where an injury is alleged to have occur ed while the defendant is DUI, a felony charge of VC 23152(a) is possible and the defendant may face up to three years in prison (on the VC 23152(a) charge alone!). This is in addition to any other charge that might accompany the VC 23512(a) charge, such as willful child endangerment, severe bodily injury enhancements, etc. 

It may be possible to reduce a California DUI charge of VC 23152(a). It may also be possible to reduce the sentence or penalties associated with the charge. To do this, a qualified DUI attorney will look to many areas of defense to a DUI charge, including defects in witness statements, defects in scientific procedure, collection, preservation, or analysis, defects in police procedure, and any mitigation factors, such as lack of criminal history of the defendant, DUI charges with low BA Cs, etc.

To learn more about a California DUI charged under VC 23152(a), contact a qualified and experienced DUI attorney today. There is no charge to speak with DUI attorney Dora do and our offices is available to handle consultations during regular business hours, weekends, and after hours.

Call today! 909.913.3138


San Bernardino county DUI Attorney