California Driving Under the Influence

by | Apr 05, 2015 | DUI

Like most states, California DUI laws are complex.  If you are charged with DUI, you are charged with a misdemeanor under one of two statutes. Either you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol or charged with driving with a blood-alcohol content of .08% or above.

In a DUI case the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were (1) driving and (2) while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or while your blood alcohol content was at or above .08%.   Although this may look like 2 simple elements to prove, it is not as DUI cases are incredibly fact specific. If you have been charged with a DUI, call The Rodriguez Law Group today for a free consultation.

Although this might seem like an easy element to prove, it often is not.  In the case where the officer observes a defendant driving, then the prosecution can offer the officer’s testimony that he saw you driving and this element is satisfied. However, an officer observing the defendant driving is not always the case. Often times there is an accident and the police arrive after or someone else has called the police to report that they believe they’ve seen a drunk driver.  There are several scenarios where “driving” is not explicit and the prosecution and the defense both can use the facts in their favor.

Under the Influence of Drugs and/or Alcohol
You can be charged with DUI in California if you have consumed an impairing substance whether it be alcohol or drugs and have been driving.  Again, this element is extremely fact specific. Under California Vehicle Code 23152(a) “under the influence” occurs when, as a result of drinking alcohol and/or taking drugs your physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that you no longer have the ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.

The prosecution’s burden to prove this element is based on several factors. Often the testimony of what the arresting officer observed is elicited.  He/she will testify about bad driving, your appearance, the way you spoke, your ability to answer questions and to perform standardized field sobriety tests. Also, the prosecution will seek to introduce your blood alcohol content to either show it was over .08% or to corroborate the other evidence presented that you were under the influence.

Defending DUI
A skilled attorney representing a DUI knows there hardly ever exists an affirmative defense like there is available for an assault charge or a shoplifting charge. When defending a DUI what is important is to know how to apply the facts of each defendant’s case to the law and rebut the evidence of the prosecution.  Every fact in a DUI is important, and thus it is important to consult an attorney to defend your case and in doing so to share every fact you remember.

At The Rodriguez Law Group, we have seasoned attorneys who were former prosecutors and know the system. As defense attorneys, we will advocate for you against a DUI charge. If you have been charged in Los Angeles or surrounding counties, please call our office to discuss your case.

To learn more, call our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm at 213-995-6767 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.