Most individuals in California know that they cannot legally operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Drunk driving is always against the law. However, what are the legal regulations for a driver who is no longer drunk, but not quite sober?
Use this article to find out if you can drive hungover while in California. Review the specifics of California’s laws on driving under the influence (DUI) with the Simmrin Law Group and call (310) 997-4688 to get help if you’re facing DUI charges.
Review the Specifics of a DUI Charge
California defines a DUI as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Law enforcement officers may arrest drivers for a DUI if:
- They are impaired and unable to operate a vehicle in a reasonable manner
- Their blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit
Any driver over 21 with a BAC over 0.08% can face DUI charges in California. Drivers under 21 must keep their BAC under 0.01%. Commercial drivers need to maintain a BAC under 0.04%. However, drivers can face DUI charges even with a BAC under the legal limit if they appear to be impaired.
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A Hangover Can Impair Drivers in California
Anyone who has had a hangover knows that the experience can be very unpleasant. The human body processes alcohol slowly and with a number of side-effects that can have physical repercussions. Common symptoms of a hangover can include:
- Lack of concentration
- Memory problems and headaches
- Fatigue, weakness, and shakiness
Some of the symptoms of a hangover can impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. A driver who is pulled over with a hangover may be asked to complete field sobriety tests (FSTs) and other assessments. Drivers who cannot complete these assessments to the satisfaction of a police officer could be arrested, even if they are not technically drunk anymore.
Hungover Drivers in California May Have a High BAC
You should be aware that it takes a significant amount of time for the human body to fully process alcohol. In fact, it takes around an hour to remove the effects of one drink of alcohol. Depending upon how much a driver drank, they may feel hungover while their BAC is still elevated.
As we mentioned, drivers in California can always face DUI charges if their BAC exceeds the legal limit. Hungover drivers with a high BAC can be arrested and charged with a DUI. Note that time is the only thing that removes alcohol for a driver’s system. Sleeping and drinking caffeinated beverages do not remove the concentration of alcohol on their own.
Some drivers technically can drive hungover, in that they can physically get behind the wheel and turn on their vehicle. However, it’s often legally advisable to wait until you are completely sober to drive to avoid the possibility that you will face criminal charges.
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Legal Outcomes of DUI Charges for Hungover Drivers
Hungover drivers arrested for a DUI in California will face the same charges as a drunk driver. This means that a conviction for a first-time offense can lead to:
- Jail time of up to six months
- License restrictions of up to six months
- Fines of up to $2,000
A DUI charge remains on your record for 10 years. Each time you are arrested for a subsequent DUI within this 10-year period, the penalties you face in court can increase. Additionally, your insurance premiums may go up after a DUI conviction, even if you were only hungover at the time of your arrest.
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Legal Options to Handle Hangover DUI Charges in California
A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can help if you are charged with a DUI while operating your vehicle with a hangover. Your lawyer can assess the specific facts of your case while working to construct a strong defense.
Often, your lawyer will focus on demonstrating that you were not impaired while driving. The team at the Simmrin Law Group can focus on blocking evidence against you to weaken the prosecution’s case. We may be able to get your charges dismissed or reduced in some cases. Get started by reaching out to us right now.
Call a Lawyer If You Were Arrested for Driving Hungover
You have the physical ability to drive hungover in California, but such a choice can lead to criminal charges for a DUI. If you are charged with a DUI for hungover driving, reach out to the Simmrin Law Group today to get help. You can start working on your defense with a FREE consultation from our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles.
Focus on getting professional assistance today by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688.