23152 (a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.
This is California’s catch-all DUI law. You probably know that in most DUI cases, there is a “legal limit” of how much alcohol you can have in your system. We’d all like to think that if we’re within the legal limit, we’re not breaking any laws. Unfortunately, VC 23152(a) makes it illegal to drive while intoxicated regardless of how much or little you had to drink.
If you are charged with this crime, the prosecutor has to prove the following:
- You drove a vehicle. “Driving” in this context can mean moving it as little as a few feet.
- You had alcohol in your system. This can be proven by a breath or blood test, or if you admitted you had been drinking. Any amount counts, even if you felt sober.
- You were impaired. The alcohol in your system influenced your behavior or perception in some way.
The last point is the hardest to prove, and it’s why this law is not charged as often as California’s other drunk driving laws. The prosecution doesn’t have to prove that you were “over the limit” but they do have to prove that the alcohol affected you in some way. They may make their cased based on observations (the police officer says you slurred your words, etc.) or driving behavior (swerving, driving slowly, and so on).
A good DUI attorney will build your defense around this “impairment” issue. They will help show the court that there is no clear evidence the alcohol affected your driving—even if you swerved, sped or got in an accident.
Have you been charged with drunk driving? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 862-0199 and get your free consultation today.