DUI | Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence, or DUI in California, is a violation of Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) and 23152(b).

Generally when a person is charged with a DUI, he or she is charged with both sections of the Vehicle Code. A DUI is generally a misdemeanor (unless there are multiple convictions or there was a collision causing bodily injury) and carries with it up to six months in county jail for a first offense.

Although not widely known, a person can be convicted of DUI even if he or she was not driving with a .08% or higher blood alcohol content (BAC). In this situation, a person may be driving with a BAC of .06%, for example, and be prosecuted under only VC 23152(a), if his or her driving was impaired. A prosecutor need only show that the person was impaired at the time of driving due to alcohol consumption, and he or she could not drive with the same caution as a normal sober person. However, many people incorrectly believe that they could only be convicted of a DUI if they are driving with a BAC of .08% or higher.

In 23152(b), however, the prosecution must prove that the person was driving, and at the time of driving he or she had a BAC of 08% or higher. Usually, law enforcement will administer an EPAS (Evidential Portable Alcohol System) or PAS (Preliminary Alcohol Screening) test at the scene in an attempt to record BAC at the time of driving. Under California law, the DMV requires you to submit to a chemical test of your blood or breath for the privilege to drive. This is known as the “Implied Consent Law”. However, the EPAS/PAS tests are not always the most reliable tests, and you are not required to submit to these tests if you are over the age of 21. These EPAS/PAS tests are generally administered with field sobriety tests (FST’s) in order for the officer to form an opinion as to whether or not you are driving under the influence. You are also not required to submit to these FST’s, however, the officer will generally document any unwillingness to cooperate in the police report.

You are required to submit to a blood or breath test, however, if you do not want to be charged with the refusal enhancement. The official breath test is usually administered at the police station with a more reliable machine, commonly known as an Intoxilyzer. These machines may also be challenged through calibration and service logs. If you do not choose a breath test, you may also elect a blood test. In this situation, a phlebotomist or nurse is generally summoned to perform the blood draw. If you refuse to submit to any of these tests, the officer will usually perform what is called a “forced blood draw”. In this situation, the officer will document your refusal to cooperate, and still have your blood drawn forcefully.

A refusal to submit to any testing will usually mean an automatic one year suspension of your privilege to drive. There is also an enhancement that may be alleged pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 23612. In addition to any penalties for the DUI itself, the refusal will generally add additional punishment.

If you have been charged with the crime of DUI, contact an experienced DUI attorney at The Law Offfices of Parwana Anwar, PLC immediately. You only have a 10-day window after the date of your arrest to contact the DMV for a hearing. Don’t face the courts or the DMV alone. Let a skilled Temecula DUI lawyer handle your DUI case for you in order to ensure you get the best possible outcome. Call Anwar Law Offices at 951-698-1250 for your free consultation.