23152 (b) 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.
If you’re arrested for driving under the influence in California, this is the most likely law to be charged with. Prosecutors prefer to use this charge wherever possible because they don’t have to prove you were impaired. As long as they can show you had a high enough alcohol level, it does not matter whether you felt sober, or even if your driving was fine. You can still be convicted.
To defend yourself it’s important to understand what this “legal limit” means. It can be measured by either a breath test or a blood test, performed when you’re arrested. .08% is a very tiny amount, roughly what you get from consuming one to three drinks. The limit is the same regardless of your weight or gender.
To convict you the prosecutor has to prove two things:
- You drove a vehicle.
- Your blood alcohol level was over the limit of .08% or higher at the time you drove.
A good defense will focus on the second point. The prosecution relies on the results of your blood or breath test to prove their case. If the results of that test can be called into question, you could be acquitted. This is usually done one of two ways:
- Challenging the validity of the test itself. Breath tests may not be valid if the machine was not calibrated properly or if it has a history of skewing high. Blood tests may not be valid if the blood sample was not handled according to state-mandated procedures at all times.
- Challenging the timing of the test. California law presumes that a test is accurate if it was given within three hours of pulling you over. In other words, they think that if you were drunk three hours after being stopped, you must have been drunk behind the wheel, too. But it’s well known that your blood alcohol level continues to rise for hours after drinking. If the test was delayed, it can be challenged.
Another effective tactic in many cases is to challenge the arrest itself. Police need a valid reason to pull you over, must follow protocols in searching your car and arresting you, and cannot violate your rights during questioning. A DUI lawyer will know which defense is most likely to work in your case.
Have you been charged with driving under the influence? 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) 896-2724 and get your free consultation today.