California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a):
Driving under the influence of any alcoholic beverage

California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) makes it “unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.” Motorists who display signs and symptoms of intoxication can be charged with this DUI section even if there is no evidence that their blood alcohol concentration measures above the legal limit of .08%.

Suspects who take a breath test or blood test that registers a BAC of .08 or higher are typically charged with two crimes:

However, even if both of these charges are sustained, the two charges count as only a single DUI conviction.



California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) reads:

(a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a

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

“Under the influence” is not a set number. It relates to impairment of a driver’s mental or physical abilities as a result of alcohol, to the extent that he/she are no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober driver, using ordinary care under similar circumstances.

Prosecutors prove the driver was under the influence through a combination of the police officer’s testimony and written report, noting how he/she observed the vehicle on the road, including any unsafe driving, the appearance of the driver, failed field sobriety tests, and any chemical tests.

Because this doesn’t include a clear boundary for what is considered to be under the influence, this means that a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) that is under the legal limit can still be charged and convicted of a DUI. A driver with a BAC of 0.06% for example, could still be shown to be impaired if he/she wasn’t able to drive with the caution of a sober driver.


VC 23152A arrests are no laughing matter; a DUI conviction can stay with you for the rest of your life and affect your opportunities for years to come. If you don’t avoid a conviction in one way or another, you could lose your job and any progress you’ve been making to reach your life goals.

Depending on numerous circumstances regarding your intoxication and your driving. Including the involvement of a collision, The extent of injuries sustained by passengers, or other third parties, Whether a hit-and-run was a factor, Your DUI can be classified as either a misdemeanor (standard) or, in rare and egregious cases, a felony.

Assuming you are not a repeat offender, three requirements must be met for your DUI to be treated as a felony: (1) While under the influence, the driver must commit a traffic violation, such as running a red light or speeding; (2) The driver must have caused injury or death to a third-party; (3) That injury must have been caused by the violation in question.  Your DUI can also be increased to a felony if you have multiple prior DUI convictions and/or a prior felony DUI conviction.

Any combination of the following are possible consequences for vehicle code 23152(a) vc:

Fine $1400 -$3,000Up to $10,000 + penalty assessments
Probation1-3 years summary probation3-5 years formal probation
Alcohol Program3-9 months 3-30 month alcohol program
AA/MADD Classes , Victim Impact ProgramAs determined by the courtAs determined by the court
Ignition Interlock DeviceYes in pilot countiesMust be installed in pilot counties
Community Service/LaborAmount determined by the courtAs determined by the court
Restitution To Any VictimsAn amount determined by the courtAs determined by the level of damage cause to the 3rd party
Jail or Prison0-6 months county jail6 months – 3 years state prison

May be a “strikeable” offense, may be eligible for state prison sentence. If you kill someone while driving under the influence, you can also be charged with PC 192(a) vehicular manslaughter or PC 187- watson murder.


There are many defenses that may be applicable in a Los Angeles DUI case. There may be a strong argument that the officer who initiated the traffic stop lacked probable cause that the driver was in violation the law. If the stop is deemed to have been faulty, the resulting evidence of the DUI stop will be suppressed and the case would be unable to proceed.

DUI charges pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC may be harder to prove than the companion charge under 23152(b) because a prosecutor is required to actually establish that the driver was under the influence. An effective Los Angeles DUI attorney can challenge the prosecutor’s argument to show why no evidence of impairment exists.

In addition, there may be situations where a person who is accused of refusing to provide testing was not given the proper admonishments or else did not actively refuse, and is charged with a DUI offense anyways. These defendants would have a good argument that they never refused testing and thus the DUI case should be dismissed or reduced.


If you have been charged with a Los Angeles DUI offense it is very important to consult with an experienced Los Angeles DUI Attorney as soon as possible. There are tight deadlines in every DUI case, especially in regard to driver’s licenses, and retaining an attorney early on can make a significant difference.

With many years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles DUI Attorney Chris Nalchadjian is highly effective at fighting all aspects of DUI charges. Mr. Nalchadjian understands the consequences a DUI conviction can carry and works hard to ensure his clients receive the best representation possible.

For more information about driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles DUI Attorney Chris Nalchadian at KN Law Firm. We can be reached 24/7 at 888 950 0011 or through this contact form.

Skip to content