Use this article to review the difference between drunk and impaired driving in California. You can also review your legal options if you are accused of drunk or impaired driving.
What’s The Difference Between Drunk And Impaired Driving In California?
The state of California legally requires drivers to operate their vehicles in a reasonable and safe manner. Drivers throughout the state are expected to avoid both impaired driving and drunk driving, or driving under the influence (DUI).
Some drivers wonder about the difference between drunk and impaired driving in California. This article reviews the definitions of driving while impaired and inebriated. Drivers can also call (310) 997-4688 to speak directly with the Simmrin Law Group about DUI charges in California.
Defining Drunk Driving in the State of California
In order to understand the difference between drunk and impaired driving in California, we will review the definitions of these terms. Drunk driving refers to driving under the influence of alcohol. Drivers in California may be charged with drunk driving if their blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds certain levels.
Legally, drivers must keep their BAC:
- Below 0.08% if they are over 21
- Below 0.04% if they are commercial drivers
- Below 0.01% if they are under 21
Any driver exceeding the state BAC limits can be accused of drunk driving and may face DUI charges.
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Defining Impaired Driving in the State of California
California uses a very broad definition of impaired driving. Any driver who operates a vehicle without full focus due to an outside influence could be considered impaired. For example, drivers may be accused of impaired driving if they get behind the wheel:
- After drinking alcohol
- After using certain drugs
- While they are fatigued
- While distracted in any way
As you can see, all forms of drunk driving are also considered impaired driving, but not all instances of impaired driving involve alcohol use. Drivers can be impaired by many chemical substances, including:
- Illicit drugs like heroin
- Prescription drugs, especially sleep aids
- Over-the-counter drugs, including some allergy medications
Additionally, simply driving while very tired or ill can result in impaired driving. Sometimes, drivers engage in impaired driving if they are talking on a cellphone, texting, adjusting a radio, or even eating while behind the wheel.
Comparing Criminal Charges for Drunk and Impaired Driving
Drunk driving in California is prosecuted using DUI charges. DUIs are punished very harshly by the court system. Convictions can result in fines, jail time, and orders to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on a driver’s vehicle.
Impaired driving is sometimes treated as a criminal act, as well. For example, all acts of driving under the influence of drugs are also prosecuted as DUIs in California. In fact, in some situations, drivers can even be charged with driving under the influence of both alcohol and drugs.
Note that driving while tired or distraction generally won’t lead to criminal charges in California. However, this doesn’t mean that these forms of impaired driving will go unpunished. Drivers can be sued in the civil court system if they cause an accident while impaired by exhaustion or distraction.
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Getting Help If Accused of Drunk or Impaired Driving
Drivers can reach out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles if they are accused of drunk or impaired driving. You can easily speak to a legal professional in this situation by calling (310) 997-4688 to contact the Simmrin Law Group.
Getting professional assistance quickly can improve your odds of successfully resolving charges for drunk or impaired driving. A lawyer could be able to:
- Investigate the charges you are facing
- Block evidence against you
- Get your charges reduced to an acceptable level
- Have your charges dismissed entirely
- Construct a courtroom ready defense for you
The DUI lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group understand how to handle charges of impaired driving. Legal professionals can build you a defense if you are accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Allow us to review all of your legal options starting right now. It is highly recommended that you speak with a lawyer before discussing your charges. Take control of your future if you are accused of drunk or impaired driving in California.
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Speak to a Lawyer About Drunk and Impaired Driving in California
We’ve explored the differences between drunk and impaired driving in California. Impaired driving covers a wider range of acts than drunk driving, but both acts can lead to criminal charges. The Simmrin Law Group can help you take on these charges today. You can easily reach us to get legal assistance by calling (310) 997-4688 or filling out our online contact form.
Our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles are standing by to offer you a FREE initial case evaluation, so contact us now.