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Vehicle Code 23152g DUI Drug and Alcohol

California Vehicle Code Section 23152(g) VC is known as a drug and alcohol DUI. Driving under the influence (DUI) of a combination of alcohol and drugs can lead to serious consequences, including loss of your license, fines, fees, and possible jail time. Drug and alcohol DUIs can include over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, and recreational or medical marijuana. If you were arrested on charges of 23152(g) VC, contact a local East Bay DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. 

Vehicle Code 23152(g) VC Text 

Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(g):  

It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.

Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) makes it illegal for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle. Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) makes it illegal for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle. So it is not surprising that it is also unlawful to drive under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs. 

Combined Effects of Drugs and Alcohol

Depending on the type of drug, a combination of drugs and alcohol can be more impairing than alcohol or drugs alone. Alcohol can alter the effects of a drug, and vice versa. Alcohol and drug interactions can cause: 

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Change in blood pressure
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Loss of coordination

Generally, drug and alcohol interactions that result in a DUI involve prescription drugs or narcotics. Prescription drugs with alcohol may be intentional or unintentional. Some people take benzodiazepines, like Xanax or Valium, with alcohol to intensify the effects of the drug and alcohol combo.  

Some alcohol and drug interactions can be toxic, leading to a coma or death. Even over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen with alcohol can cause liver damage. Alcohol with opioids like oxycodone can cause slowed breathing or death. 

What drugs are included in a drug and alcohol DUI in California?

Under California Vehicle Code Section 312, the term “drug” includes: 

“any substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, which could so affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person as to impair, to an appreciable degree, his ability to drive a vehicle in the manner that an ordinarily prudent and cautious man, in full possession of his faculties, using reasonable care, would drive a similar vehicle under like conditions.”

Legal possession of the substance is not a defense to drug and alcohol DUI charges. Recreational marijuana may be legal for most adults over 21. However, driving under the influence of marijuana combined with alcohol remains against the law. Even if your doctor prescribes a medication but that medication impairs your ability to drive, you can face a drug and alcohol DUI even if you had a valid prescription. 

Elements of the Offense

In order for the prosecutor to get a conviction for a drug DUI, the prosecutor needs to prove every element of the case, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If there is any doubt that even one element is not met, you should be found not guilty. 

Vehicle Code 23152(g) VC

Under the Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions, to prove the defendant is guilty of the  23152(g), the state has to prove: 

  1. The defendant drove a vehicle; AND
  2. When he or she drove, the defendant was under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug. 

“Under the influence” means that as a result of taking a drug, the driver's 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.

Testing for Drugs and Alcohol  

Drugs and alcohol are tested in a driver by using chemical blood tests. If the police suspect a driver is impaired, they may just conduct a breath test to show the estimated blood alcohol content (BAC). If the police suspect the driver may be under the influence of drugs, they will generally order a blood test sample. A blood test may show the driver's BAC and the evidence of other drugs in the system, including: 

  • Ethanol (alcohol)
  • THC
  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Zolpidem
  • Oxycodone
  • Alprazolam
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

Defense Strategies for a Drug DUI in California 

Your attorney may be able to challenge the results of a chemical blood test. The evidence of a blood test may be the only significant evidence the prosecutor has to show a driver was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. If that evidence was thrown out of court, the prosecutor may have to drop the charges. 

Unfortunately for most people charged with a DUI, there are many problems with relying on chemical DUI test evidence. These tests can be inaccurate, contaminated, or flawed by operator error. For example, a police station may conduct 100 blood tests over a holiday weekend. If just two of the blood samples get mixed up, it could lead to an innocent person being convicted of a crime and the guilty party walking away free.

Other problems with blood test evidence include improper blood test machine calibration, cleaning, maintenance, or malfunction.  

Defense Lawyer for 23152(g) VC Charges in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

Drug and alcohol DUIs are becoming more common in California. Drugs like marijuana are now legal and some drivers do not see a problem with drinking alcohol, smoking a joint, and then driving. However, many innocent people get caught up in the overzealous police anti-DUI net. One beer and smoking marijuana a day earlier could lead to a drug and alcohol DUI. 

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.

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