California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC is among the most common criminal charges in California. This law applies to driving offenses involving alcohol and drugs, more commonly known as drunk driving.
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs can lead to serious consequences, including loss of your license, fines, fees, and possible jail time. If you were arrested on charges of 23152 VC, contact a local East Bay DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Vehicle Code 23152 VC Text
(a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.
(b) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.
The second part of this code is known as a “per se” DUI. A per se DUI involves a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, as tested by a breath or blood test. A driver commits a per se DUI simply by having a high enough BAC, even if the driver did not show any signs of impairment.
Elements of the Offense
In order for the prosecutor to get a conviction, the prosecutor or district attorney, needs to prove every element of the case, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If there is some doubt that even one element is not met, you should not be found guilty.
Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC
Under the Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions, to prove the defendant is guilty of the 23152(a), the state has to prove:
- The defendant drove a vehicle; AND
- When he or she drove, the defendant was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, or a drug, or a combination of alcoholic beverage and drug.
“Under the influence” means that as a result of drinking alcohol or taking a drug, his or her mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.
There may be a number of factors or evidence used to show the driver was no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person. This could include the police officer testimony or report or field sobriety test results.
For example, the police report or video footage may show a driver swerving, failing to stop at a stop sign, or crossing over the median. Together with field sobriety test results that showed the driver failed all tests, had slurred speech, and smelled of alcohol may be enough for a juror to find the driver was under the influence.
Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC
To prove the defendant is guilty of the 23152(b), the state has to prove:
- The defendant drove a vehicle; AND
- When he or she drove, the defendant's blood alcohol level was 0.08 percent or more by weight.
It is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08% or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had a BAC of 0.08% or more at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving. However, the jury is not required to conclude that the defendant's blood alcohol level was 0.08% or more at the time of the offense.
Defense Strategies for a California DUI
There are a number of defense strategies available for your East Bay DUI defense lawyer, depending on the facts of your case. Your attorney can challenge any illegally obtained evidence to keep it out of court. Additionally, your lawyer can show that the evidence relied upon by the state is not so reliable.
Challenging Chemical Test Results
The defense often relies on chemical breath or blood test evidence to show the driver had a BAC over the limit. However, there are many problems with relying on chemical DUI test evidence. Operator error by the individual taking the sample can provide an unreliable test sample. Machine error caused by lack of proper maintenance, lack of cleaning, or lack of calibration can show inaccurate results.
Challenging Field Sobriety Test Results
The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) are supposed to test for impairment. However, there are a lot of other reasons someone could “fail” these tests that have nothing to do with alcohol or drugs. Problems with roadside sobriety tests can be caused by:
- Improper instruction,
- Lack of observation,
- Medical issues,
- Environmental conditions,
- Footwear, and
The Defendant Was Not Driving
In some cases, the prosecution may not even have solid evidence that the defendant was the one behind the wheel. It does not matter how drunk someone is, if they were not driving or operating a motor vehicle, they cannot be charged with a DUI.
Defense Lawyer for 23152 VC Charges in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 35 years of DUI experience, and understands the consequences of a DUI for California drivers. Representing drivers in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws, local officers, and the prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.