Some of the most common criminal charges in California involve vehicles. Because of this, California courtrooms are filled with individuals charged with vehicular crimes, many of which carry the risk of jail time, substantial fines and the possibility of losing your privilege to operate a motor vehicle.

Because the consequences of traffic and DUI charges can be devastating from a financial, and practical standpoint, it is important that you get the best representation possible.

I understand the complexities of these cases, and will stand by your side and will zealously fight from start to finish to get you the the best outcome in your case.

DUI charges can carry particularly harsh consequences, which are discussed in detail below:

Vehicle Code 23152(a) and Vehicle Code 23152(b)

A DUI arrest usually triggers two criminal charges, Vehicle Code 23152(a) and Vehicle Code 23152(b).

Vehicle Code 23152(a) states that “it is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle”.

Vehicle Code 23152(b) states that “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”.

To be convicted of Vehicle Code 23152(a) the prosecutor must prove that:

  1. you were driving a motor vehicle and,
  2. you were under the influence of an alcoholic beverage

Driving

While the first element, driving, may seem pretty straight forward, there are a number of scenarios in which this element comes into question.

Examples of this would include an investigation after a traffic collision, or an individual who is sleeping in their vehicle.

In each of these scenarios the officer did not actually witness the individual driving, however they can still be charged with DUI. This is called circumstantial evidence, and can be used by the prosecution to prove their case.

Often however, if nobody sees the defendant driving it can create a stronger case for the defense.

Under the Influence

Pursuant to the California Jury Instructions (CALJIC 16.831), “a person is under the influence … when as a result of drinking such alcoholic beverage … her physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that she no longer has the ability to drive a vehicle with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances”.

Thus, being "under the influence" is ultimately a subjective determination that the prosecution will have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, at trial.

The prosecution will typically rely on the arresting officer to testify that you displayed "objective signs of intoxication". These include blood-shot, watery eyes, an unsteady gait, emitting an alcoholic odor and slurred speech.

For this reason it is best to communicate with the police as little as possible if you believe that you are rightfully being investigated for DUI.

A skilled defense attorney will also be able to cast doubt on the officers observations, in an effort to obtain a better plea deal, or sway a jury at trial.

To be convicted of Vehicle Code 23152(b) the prosecutor must prove that:

  1. you were driving a motor vehicle and,
  2. you had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in your blood

Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08% or more

In California DUI cases, if an individual has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 while they are driving, they are deemed to be under the influence. This is known as California’s “per se” rule.

Further, if an individual has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more within three hours of driving, there is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more of alcohol in their blood a the time of driving.

What this means is that  if the prosecutor can prove that an individual took a chemical test that showed a BAC of 0.08 or higher within 3 hours of driving, there is a presumption that the individual was driving under the influence.

There are a number of ways to defend Vehicle Code 23152(b), including arguing that you drank after you were driving, that your blood alcohol was rising, and thus below 0.08 percent at the time of driving, and that your breath sample was compromised, to name a few.

A skilled defense attorney will be able to cast doubt on your BAC at the time of driving in an effort to obtain a better plea deal, or sway a jury at trial.

Note: if a plea negotiation is reached the prosecution will dismiss one of the DUI charges.

DUI Penalties

First time DUI minimum penalties

36 months of informal probation

$390 fine plus penalties and assessments, totaling just under $2000

3 month AB 541 drug/alcohol program

30 day license suspension, followed by a 5 month restricted license. In select counties (Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare) an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) will need to be installed on all vehicles owned by the defendant prior to obtaining a restricted license.

note: if you have a BAC of .16 or higher the alcohol program will likely be extended to 9 months

Second time DUI minimum penalties (if within 10 years of the first DUI)

3 to 5 years of informal probation

$390 fine plus penalties and assessments, totaling just under $2000

18 month alcohol program

96 hours in jail

2 year license suspension, which may be converted to a restricted license after 12 months

Third time DUI minimum penalties (if within 10 years of the second DUI)

3 to 5 years of informal probation

$390-$1000 in fines, plus penalties and assessments

30 month alcohol program

120 days in jail

3 year license revocation, which may be converted to a restricted license after 18 months

DMV designation as a “habitual traffic offender”

Contact Us Now

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges I invite you to contact the Law Office of Miles Booth by calling 424 272 1134 or emailing me at milesboothlaw@gmail.com.

I will provide you with a free case evaluation to help you determine the best available options for your case, as well as what steps we can take to help ensure your freedom.