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May 26, 2017 | admin Driving Under the Influence vs. Drowsy Driving
Drowsy drivers share many of the same characteristics of those who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Their driving conduct may be the same as well as their physical symptoms. The difference is that someone who is drowsy is not committing a crime, like a person who is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When driving intoxicated, you can have your license suspended and be convicted of a crime. Driving while drowsy usually doesn’t involve any criminal charges, but it is easy to confuse the two.
In Los Angeles, drowsy drivers are responsible for numerous traffic accidents each year. While it is not an automatic violation of the law, like driving while intoxicated, it can be very risky. There is no statute that prohibits a person from driving while drowsy, however, a person who is drowsy driving can be exposed to both the criminal and civil liberties of their actions.
Driving while drowsy can cause dangerous conditions on the roadways. Any person who is sleepy and operating a motor vehicle can be charged with reckless driving. This can be found under California Section Code 23103 VC. The charges are a misdemeanor level offense that carries a sentence of 90 days in jail. However, if a drowsy driver is involved in a fatal accident, investigators may or may not choose to file criminal charges. Vehicular manslaughter, as described in California Penal Section Code 192(c) PC, may be an option for those who take a life while driving sleepy. As a “wobbler” offense, this crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. There may also be civil liabilities for any damages incurred during a traffic accident.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense. Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC, those found guilty can face jail or prison time as well as a driver’s license suspension. For first time offenders, the DUI is filed as a misdemeanor. It carries a sentence of up to 90 days in jail if convicted. When a person has four or more DUI offenses in a 10-year period, then they will be classified as a felony. The driver could be sentenced up to three years in prison under a felony charge. Testing to see if a person is under the influence is expected during a traffic stop for suspicion. However, if the driver refuses the tests, then their driver’s license is automatically suspended for a year. They will also be ineligible for a restricted license during this period.
Parallels Between Drowsy Driving and Impaired Driving
Both the impaired and drowsy drivers may have similar conduct. They may weave, run stop signs, cross into other lanes of traffic, run red lights, as well as cause car accidents. They both can have bloodshot eyes, difficulty walking a straight line and slurred speech. Without a test, an officer can easily mistake a drowsy driver for an impaired one. A Los Angeles DUI Attorney may be able to show why the performance on a field sobriety test was from being tired and not the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you have been arrested for a DUI offense when in fact you were not impaired, you need the help of a Los Angeles DUI Attorney. A lawyer who is well versed in this area can help you through this difficult time. Mistakes can happen and driving drowsy doesn’t hold the criminal charges that driving under the influence does. When your driver’s license and jail time is on the line, you need a strong legal defense. For more information regarding driving under the influence and drowsy driving, call to schedule a consultation today!