What Constitutes Impaired Driving in California?

  • May 26, 2017

    Driving under the influence is one of the most commonly charged criminal offenses in the state of California. It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol or any combination of the two. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC, a driver who commits a DUI can face criminal penalties as well as a driver’s license suspension. However, many are confused on what constitutes an impaired driver, and they do not know how much they can drink before they are considered legally drunk. If you have any questions, it is advisable to consult with a Los Angeles DUI attorney for help.

    How Many Drinks Is Too Many?

    If you have consumed an alcoholic beverage, it does not necessarily mean that you are drunk. There are no laws in California that prohibit you from operating a motor vehicle after consuming any alcohol. The BAC threshold in this state is 0.08 percent. Now, keep in mind that this is not a substantial amount of alcohol. You may feel perfectly fine and able to function normally, but you could still be over the legal limit. Anyone having a BAC of over 0.08 percent can be charged with a DUI, which is in violation of Section 23152 (b) of the California Vehicle Code.

    California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) VC also stipulates that someone with a BAC under the legal limit can be charged too. The burden of proof is on the prosecutor’s shoulders. They must prove that the defendant was using alcohol, at the time they were pulled over, and it is beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone under the age of 21, who is on DUI probation, cannot drive with any alcohol in their system. They can be cited and arrested if their BAC is at 0.01 percent or higher.

    DUI and Drugs

    When many people think of a DUI, they think of driving while using illegal drugs like heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine. However, prescription medications, such as Vicodin and Xanax can also impair your judgment and be considered criminal too. Some people can drive with Xanax without issues, while others become sedated and disorientated while taking them. Some over the counter medications can also cause impaired judgment. Medications like sleep aids, marijuana, and cough syrups with codeine can prohibit your ability to drive. Getting behind the wheel with anything less than 100 percent clarity is a recipe for disaster.

    Conditions That Cause Impairment

    Drugs and alcohol are not the only things that can lead to impairment while driving. Drowsy driving can impair your judgment, but in most cases, it will not lead to criminal charges. A driver who is texting, eating, or talking on the phone can be ticketed for such actions, but they won’t be charged with a criminal liability. If someone drives drowsy and causes an accident, they can be sued civilly for being distracted, but it doesn’t mean that they have grounds to be criminally charged. There is a fine line when it comes to a DUI. You can be charged, for driving under the influence, while taking anything that slows your movements and hinders your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

    If you or a loved one was arrested for a DUI, you need the help of a Los Angeles DUI attorney. You need to discuss your case with someone who knows the ins and outs of the law. When your driver’s license is on the line, you want to make sure that you have a great attorney working on your side. Call to schedule a consultation and see how we can help you with your case.

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