Under the law, there are a variety of different DUI offenses with which a driver could potentially be charged. Courts and the legislature have made it clear that driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of drugs are both forbidden. In addition to these separate offenses, a driver can be prosecuted under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(g) VC for driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.
California Vehicle Code Section 23152(g) reads:
Vehicle Code 23152(g) VC is the California statute that prohibits driving under the influence of combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drugs. Any drug, whether illicit or prescribed, can lead to DUI charges if it impairs the person’s driving ability. Most convictions under California law are misdemeanors. However, some can be felony DUI offenses.
In order for the defendant to be convicted of driving under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol, the following elements must be present:
- The defendant drove a vehicle AND
- When the defendant drove, he or she was under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.
A drug can be an illegal substance or a legally prescribed substance that causes impairment. It is not a defense that the defendant was legally entitled to use the drug.
PENALTIES FOR VIOLATING 23152(G) VC
The penalties for VC 23152(g) convictions are the same as for other DUI offenses. They depend on whether there are:
- prior DUI convictions on the driver’s record,
- injuries or fatalities from a crash before the DUI arrest, or
- any aggravating factors.
A conviction under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(g) VC is typically a misdemeanor offense. The penalties assessed would depend on the facts of the case and whether or not the defendant has had prior DUI convictions. A judge may place the defendant on probation for three to five years and require numerous conditions of probation on that defendant. He or she would have to attend and complete a drug and alcohol education class and may have to spend time in jail. There may also be other requirements of probation, such as community labor or community service.
As long as the driver’s BAC was under 0.08 percent, the DMV will not take any administrative action against his or her driver’s license. However, if the driver is convicted in court under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(g) VC, the DMV will issue a license suspension regardless of what the driver’s BAC was as the time of the offense.
DEFENSES FOR VIOLATING OF 23152(G) VC
Before an officer can pull a vehicle over, he or she must have reasonable or probable cause that the driver is breaking the law. The driver cannot be pulled over based on an officer’s mere whim or idle curiosity. The driver may challenge the basis for the stop, and if successful all evidence resulting from that stop would be deemed inadmissible in court. At that point, the prosecutor would be unable to go forward with the case and the charges would likely be dismissed.
Drivers accused of DUI can assert legal defenses. Some of the most common include:
- there are innocent explanations for the signs of drug impairment,
- the driver was not actually drug-impaired, and
- there was no reason for the traffic stop that led to the arrest.
HELP YOU NEED
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.