According to California VC 23152 (a), it is illegal for a person under the influence of an alcoholic beverage to operate a vehicle. You could face DUI charges if you show any signs of intoxication, even if your blood alcohol content has not exceeded the legal limit of 0.08%. On the other hand, the California VC 23152(b) makes it unlawful for any person with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more to operate a vehicle. If you take a breath test or a blood test and register a BAC of above 0.08 percent, you will face charges under VC 23152 (a) for driving under the influence and VC 23152(b) operating a vehicle with excessive BAC. After a DUI arrest in Southern California, you can count on 24 Hour Online Bail Bonds for reliable and convenient bail bond services.
What California VC 23152 (a) Prohibits
The California VC 23152 (a) prohibits drunk driving or driving under the influence of alcohol. The reasoning behind this law is that your BAC does not have to be above the legal limit to be impaired. Consuming alcohol could impair your physical and mental abilities, making you unable to operate a vehicle the way a sober person would. After a DUI arrest, California law requires you to submit to a DUI test. Failing to submit to a DUI test might attract additional charges. The prosecutor could charge you with drunk driving even if your BAC results are not above the legal limit. However, the prosecutor must prove two crucial elements:
- You operated a motor vehicle
- At the time when you drover, you were under the influence of alcohol
Which evidence does the prosecutor have to present to show you were driving under the influence of alcohol? While showing that someone was driving under the influence of alcohol, the prosecutor usually relies on circumstantial evidence. Below are some factors that could make the prosecutor conclude that you are under the influence:
- You do not perform as expected in the field sobriety tests
- You admit that you have consumed alcohol
- Walking with an uneven gait
- Slurred speech
- A smell of alcohol
- Watery, glassy, or bloodshot eyes
- Driving erratically or swerving
What California VC 23152(b) Prohibits
The California VC 23152(b) prohibits driving a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. As long as your BAC exceeds the allowable limit, you will face charges even if you have a high alcohol tolerance. You don’t have to be impaired to face DUI charges. The prosecutor will have to prove two elements to charge you with this crime:
- You were driving a vehicle
- You had a BAC of 0.08% or higher
Prosecutors do not require circumstantial evidence like slurred speech and bad driving. To prove intoxication, prosecutors rely on the blood and breath test results.
Prosecution with Two Offenses
Every time you commit a DUI offense, the prosecutors have the opportunity to convict you with two offenses: VC 23152 (a) and VC 23152(b). However, even if you violate both laws, the crime melts into one. You will only be punished for violating one crime.
After a DUI arrest and confirming that you are intoxicated, the police may place you in custody. You do not have to remain in custody until your court hearing. Instead, you can post bail and go home awaiting future court hearings. DUI arrests happen when you least expect it, usually at odd hours of the night, on weekends, and in early mornings. You might not have enough money to pay the bail amount. This is where a reliable bail bond company comes in. You need a 24-hour company that is available whenever you need them. Facing an arrest is traumatizing. You do not have to endure more time in custody, yet you can post bail and walk free.
Penalties for Violating VC 23152(a) and 23152(b)
The first, second, and third offense of violating VC 23152(a) and 23152(b) is a misdemeanor offense. You will face higher penalties for every subsequent offense that you commit.
Penalties for a First-time DUI Offense
Below are the penalties for committing a first-time DUI offense in California:
- A summary or misdemeanor probation may last between three years and five years; in most cases, the court recommends summary probation for three years.
- Fines ranging between $390 and $1,000
- DUI School – the duration of the DUI School, will vary depending on your BAC level. If you record a BAC of 0.20% and below, the court may recommend 30 hours of DUI School, which translates to three months. If you record a BAC of 0.20% and above, the court may recommend 30 hours of DUI School, which translates to 9 months.
- The California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) may suspend your driver’s license for six months. However, you can start driving if you agree to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
A jail time ranging between 48 hours and six months; however, judges often recommend probation for a first-time DUI offense instead of jail time.
- Attendance of Victim Impact Panel
Penalties for a Second-time DUI Offense
When you commit a second-time DUI offense within ten years from the first offense, you will face harsher penalties. The consequences for a second-time DUI offense are:
- Summary probation ranging between three and five years
- A DUI School, ranging between 18 months and 30 months
- Hefty fines ranging between $390 and $1000
- A suspension of your driver’s license for two years. You can start driving if you agree to install an IID for one year
- A jail time ranging between 96 hours and one year; instead of jail time, you may negotiate for a house arrest or a work program.
Penalties for a Third-time DUI Offense
If you commit a third DUI offense within ten years from the first offense, below are the penalties that you are likely to face:
- Summary probation ranging between three years and five years
- A 30-month DUI School
- Fines ranging between $390 and $1,000
- A suspension of your driver’s license for three years— you can continue to operate your vehicle normally if you install an ignition interlock device for two years.
- A jail time of 120 days to 1 year in county jail —if the judge grants you probation, the minimum jail time is 30 days alongside a 30-month DUI School.
You may face harsher penalties for a DUI offense if aggravating factors are present. Aggravating factors include drunk driving in the company of a child below 14 years as outlined by the California VC 23572. Driving at an excessive speed while intoxicated is an aggravating factor, outlined by VC23572. It is also an aggravating factor to have a BAC of 0.15% or higher (this is twice the allowable BAC limit).
Probation Instead of Jail Time
Most people convicted of violating VC 23152 (a) and VC 23152(b) are eligible for misdemeanor probation instead of incarceration. However, you are subject to some mandatory jail time when you commit a second or third offense. The alternative name for misdemeanor probation is summary probation. While on probation, you have to adhere to all the set court orders. If you violate the probation terms, the court might suspend the probation and recommend jail time. Some of the conditions that the court may impose are:
- Honoring all the terms of the criminal sentence, including attending DUI school and paying fines
- The court may require you not to drive with a measurable amount of alcohol in your blood
- You must submit to a DUI test in case of future DUI arrests
- The court may order you not to commit additional criminal offenses while on probation
The judge may impose additional probation conditions depending on the circumstances of your case:
- Attending NA (Narcotics Anonymous) and AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) meetings
- Participating in the MADD Program ( Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and the Victim Impact Program
- Paying restitution to the victims of the accident
A VC 23152(a) or 23152(b) and Your Driver’s License
When you violate VC 23152(a) and 23152(b), you could lose your driver’s license in two ways:
- The court may suspend your license
- The DMV may suspend your license during the DMV Administrative Hearing
A DMV administrative hearing is a civil proceeding distinct from criminal proceedings. For every subsequent DUI offense that you commit, the length of the license suspension increases. However, you can resume driving immediately as long as you install an IID device. When you commit a first-time DUI offense, your license is suspended for six months. The suspension will last for four months if you lose during the DMV hearing but win the criminal case.
If you commit a second-time DUI offense within ten years from the first offense, you will face a 2-year license suspension. However, if you agree to install an ignition interlock device, the license suspension reduces to one year.
A third-time DUI offense will result in a license suspension for three years. If the defendant agrees to install an ignition interlock device, the license suspension period reduces to two years.
Auto Insurance Premiums After a DUI Conviction
Will your auto insurance premiums go up after a violation of VC23152(a) and 23152(b)? Yes, after a DUI conviction, most insurance companies will increase your insurance premiums. You have no obligation to tell your insurer about the DUI conviction unless the DUI offense caused an accident. Unless the insurer runs a background check while issuing a new insurance coverage or renewing your coverage, they might never find out about the DUI conviction.
A DUI Conviction and Immigration Consequences
A violation of VC 23152(a) and 23152(b) does not have negative immigration consequences. Crimes involving moral turpitude often have negative immigration consequences. Therefore, violation of VC23152(a) and 23152(b) will not lead to deportation and will not render you inadmissible into the United States. Most DUI convictions are misdemeanor offenses and do not qualify as crimes of moral turpitude.
Expungement of a DUI Criminal Record
When you complete the misdemeanor probation and all the other requirements of a DUI conviction, you can apply for an expungement of your conviction. After the expungement, the DUI conviction will no longer show up on your background checks. Employers or other parties are prohibited from using an expunged criminal record against you. However, if you commit a subsequent crime within ten years from the expungement of the criminal record, the expunged crime will count as a prior. Therefore, you will face harsher penalties for committing a repeat DUI offense.
Fighting VC 23152(a) DUI Charges
What are some of the best legal defenses you can employ to fight DUI charges under PC 23152?
You were Not Impaired
Sober people cause the majority of road accidents and traffic violations on California roads. The fact that you had consumed alcohol does not mean that you were impaired at the time of driving. If you happen to cause an accident, the prosecutor is often quick to point out that the accident occurred due to intoxication. You can defend yourself by pointing out that the driving problems resulted from:
- A momentary or unexpected distraction
- Mechanical issues with the vehicle
- Glare on the windscreen
- An emergency
- Poor road conditions
- Medical reasons
It is important to note that withdrawal symptoms or being on drugs is not an adequate defense. Driving while addicted, as outlined by VC 23152 (c), and drugged driving as outlined under VC 23152 (f) are crimes that carry similar penalties with driving under the influence.
Inaccuracy of Field Sobriety Tests Results
You may perform poorly in the field sobriety tests due to several reasons other than intoxication:
- Anxiety and nerves
- Medical conditions like balance disorder
- The terrain wasn’t flat enough
- You were wearing uncomfortable shoes or attire
- The police did not give you clear instructions
While the police are conducting the field sobriety tests, they should adhere to specific instructions. For instance, the field sobriety tests should be performed on even ground and in a well-lit environment. A qualified person must also conduct the FSTs. If the police administer the FSTs improperly, you can base your defense on this fact.
The Police Violated your Constitutional Rights
Even upon committing a DUI offense, you still have constitutional rights that the police should not violate. Some of the typical examples of police misconduct that could lead to a reduction or dismissal of your charges are:
- The police did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to order the traffic stop
- There was no probable cause to make the DUI arrest
- The police coerced you to confess that you were under the influence
- The police did not read out the Miranda rights to you during the arrest
- The law enforcement officers violated Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations while collecting and storing the breath and blood samples.
Police misconduct could raise a reasonable doubt regarding your guilt even if the DUI test results indicate that you were under the influence.
Fighting VC 23152(b) DUI Charges
Some of the effective DUI defenses that you can use to fight an accusation of driving with a BAC of 0.08% and above are:
Your BAC was below 0.08% at the Time of Driving
When you consume alcohol, it takes some time for you to absorb alcohol into your bloodstream. When the police stop you on suspicion of DUI, your BAC might be below the allowable limit. However, the blood alcohol content might rise to an illegal limit when you undergo the DUI testing. You can fight the charges using the rising alcohol blood alcohol defense. You can point out that by the time the police pulled you over, your blood alcohol content wasn’t above 0.08%.
Tainted Breath Sample
The Breathalyzer equipment measures the deep lung air to determine the BAC level. In most cases, mouth air contaminates the breath sample leading to exaggerated and inaccurate BAC results. Some of the factors that could trigger false BAC readings are:
- Dental work
- Acid reflux /GERD
- Low-carbohydrate high-protein diet
- Other factors
Compromised Chemical Testing Equipment
If the chemical testing equipment like the Breathalyzer is faulty or improperly calibrated, they may record incorrect BAC results.
Posting Bail after a DUI Arrest
When you’ve been charged with DUI, you will need to post bail to get out of jail as you await your charges and court hearings. The court will hold the bail money and return it to you after the close of your case. There are several bail options:
- Cash bail— you pay the bail amount in cash
- Bail bond — a bail bondsman posts bail on your behalf
- Own recognizance release— you make a written commitment to attend future court hearings when needed
- Property bond —place your property as bail
There are many ways of accessing bail, including through the phone or 24-hour online bail bond services. You should go for a reliable bail bond company that will be there for you whenever you need them. Reliable bail bond companies provide a wide range of payment options, payment plans, and financing. In the face of an arrest, you need a non-judgemental bail bondsman to listen to you. You also need a confidential bail bondsman to give you peace of mind that your information is safe.
Find a Reliable Bail Bondsman Near Me
After a DUI arrest, the last thing you need is a cumbersome bail bond process. At 24 Hour Online Bail Bonds, we make the process of accessing bonds in Southern California easy and fast. Contact us at 800-930-8999 and speak to one of our bail bondsmen.