Operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol is considered a serious criminal offense in Los Angeles. The state of California can prosecute this act under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a): Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol.
Many people believe that you can only be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.08. In fact, VC 23152(a) allows police officers to arrest individuals even if their BAC is below 0.08.
You can find out more about the definition and penalties associated with VC 23152 from the legal professionals at the Simmrin Law Group.
Understanding VC 23152(a): Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
VC 23152(a) makes it illegal for any individual to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This law applies even if a driver is below the legal limit of 0.08 BAC. Drivers may be charged under VC 23152(a) if:
- They Were Driving Like They Were Intoxicated
- The Results of a Chemical Test Are Pending
- They Refused to Comply with Chemical Testing
Drivers with a BAC above 0.08 may be charged under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b). Police officers will often charge drivers with both VC 23152(a) and VC 23152(b) after detecting a high BAC.
Traffic Stops and VC 23152(a)
Generally, drivers are charged with VC 23152(a) after being stopped by a police officer. Police officers may stop drivers that are violating different driving laws. Common examples of traffic violations that lead to DUI stops include:
Drivers should not be stopped without any reason. Once a driver has been stopped, a police officer may request that he or she complete field sobriety tests. Drivers may also be asked to complete a chemical test, such as the breathalyzer.
Drivers can face additional charges if they refuse to submit to a blood or breath test after being arrested. Depending on the circumstances surrounding a DUI arrest, a driver could be charged with:
- California Vehicle Code Section 23103: Dry Reckless
- California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5: Wet Reckless
- California Vehicle Code Section 23140: Under 21 DUI With Blood Alcohol Content Between 0.05-0.07 Percent
- California Vehicle Code Section 23153: DUI with Injury
Penalties for a VC 23152(a) Conviction
Drivers convicted under VC 23152(a) will be subjected to different penalties based on the number of their prior DUI convictions.
Penalties for a First Time DUI Conviction
- Fines: Up to $2,000
- Jail Time: Up to 6 Months
- License Suspension: Up to 1 Year
Penalties for a Second DUI Conviction
- Fines: Up to $2,500
- Jail Time: Up to 1 Year
- License Suspension: Up to 2 Year
Penalties for a Third DUI Conviction
- Fines: Up to $3,000
- Jail Time: Up to 1 Year
- License Suspension: Up to 3 Year
Additionally, drivers will be forced to complete an alcohol awareness program that could be up to 30 months long. Drivers could also be sentenced to community service.
Furthermore, the Department of Motor Vehicles plays an important role in DUI charges. Any driver charged under VC 23152(a) will need to request a hearing with the DMV. Drivers have a 10-day period after any arrest to request this hearing. Drivers that do not request the hearing will have their license automatically revoked.
Defenses for DUI Charges in Los Angeles
Drivers accused under VC 23152(a) do not just have to accept the charges they are facing. There are several defenses that may be effective in a DUI case. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to build a defense by arguing:
You Were Stopped Without Probable Cause
Police officers are not permitted to stop drivers for no reason. If a lawyer can prove that a police officer did not have cause to stop you, it could allow any evidence against you to be suppressed.
You Were Not Actually Impaired
VC 23152(a) does not require a driver to have a BAC above 0.08. It only states that a driver must be impaired. A lawyer may be able to argue that there was not evidence of any impairment when you were charged with a DUI.
Get Help Understanding VC 23152(a) Today
Charges under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a): Driving Under The Influence Of Alcohol can be difficult to handle alone. The professional DUI lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group can provide you with the help you need to address these charges. Call (310) 997- 4688 or fill out our online contact form to learn more.
We offer a FREE initial case evaluation so you can get legal advice when you need it.