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Vehicle Code 23154 Probation DUI

California Vehicle Code Section 23154 VC is a DUI law that applies to drivers who are arrested and charged for a DUI while still on probation from a prior DUI or wet reckless charge. There are restrictions and conditions of being on probation. A probation violation could result in additional penalties and having probation revoked. A DUI while on probation for a DUI will likely result in additional penalties and it may be harder to seek plea bargain without an experienced local East Bay DUI defense lawyer on your side.  

Vehicle Code 23154 VC Text 

Under California Vehicle Code Section 23154:  

It is unlawful for a person who is on probation for a DUI to operate a motor vehicle at any time with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test.

Why is the Limit So Low?

A probation DUI is not just another DUI. A probation DUI has a “zero-tolerance” limit. The zero-tolerance limit is also for drivers who are under the age of 21, who are not legally allowed to consume alcohol in California. Similarly, probation after a DUI requires drivers not to have any measurable alcohol in their system while on probation. 

How Many Drinks is 0.01% BAC

blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01% or higher is basically less than one alcoholic beverage. An individual's BAC showing 0.01% or higher may depend on how fast they drank the beverage, the amount of time passed, and how much alcohol was consumed. However, for most drivers, drinking half a can of beer may be enough to trigger a zero tolerance violation. 

Can I Refuse a Preliminary Breath Test?

For most drivers, the preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device test is not mandatory. However, submitting to a PAS test while on probation is mandatory. Under the statute, a person who is on probation for a DUI, who drives a motor vehicle, is deemed to have given his or her consent to a PAS test or other chemical test for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol in the person. 

Refusing a PAS test can result in a license suspension or revocation of 1 to 3 years. Even if the driver does refuse a PAS test, the driver may still be arrested and charged. Refusal does not mean that the driver will not be charged, convicted, or sentenced, just because there is not a PAS test result. 

Elements of the Offense

In order for the prosecutor to get a conviction for a probation 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, then the rideshare or taxi driver should be found not guilty. 

 Under the statute, a person may be found to be in violation of a probation DUI if the person was: 

  1. Driving a vehicle,
  2. When he or she drove, the defendant was on probation for a DUI, and
  3. When he or she drove, the defendant had consumed an alcoholic beverage and was driving a vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01% or greater. 

Defense Strategies for a Probation DUI in California 

After being on probation for a DUI, the last thing you want is to have further penalties and extended probation for having a small amount of alcohol in the system. One of the defense strategies after a probation DUI is to challenge the chemical breath and blood tests.  

The limit for a probation DUI is only 0.01%, well below the per se DUI limit of 0.08%. With such a low limit, the margin of error for a zero-tolerance violation is very small. If the chemical breath or blood testing machine is off by just 0.01% BAC, then you could face penalties and a parole violation. 

Errors in Chemical Testing Results

Chemical test errors can involve operator error, machine malfunction, or false positives by other causes. When the person performing the chemical tests is not following the proper test procedures, it can result in inaccurate readings. Unfortunately, the police may not admit that they didn't follow the rules when testing a driver's breath or blood. Your DUI defense lawyer can review police records, look at videotape footage, and use the officer's testimony to show the jury the test results may not be as accurate as the prosecutor claims. 

The testing machines themselves may be unreliable. If the police are not properly cleaning, calibrating, and maintaining the machines, they may lose reliability and give an inaccurate result. 

There are also non-alcohol-related causes that could show a driver has a BAC over 0.01%. Certain foods, drinks, medications, or medical conditions can trigger positive results in a breath or blood alcohol test. 

Defense Lawyer for 23154 VC Charges in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

Half a beer may be enough to trigger a 0.01% parole violation. East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 35 years of DUI experience and understands the consequences of a parole violation 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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