18-year-old (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) was recently arrested on suspicion of DUI after having crashed his car into a residence in Danville. Allegedly, he was driving on Westridge Avenue and attempted to turn onto Midland Way when the incident occurred. The accident wouldn’t have been so serious if the crash hadn’t caused a gas line in the home to rupture, causing natural gas to leak into the neighborhood and neighbors to evacuate. He failed more than one field sobriety test and was subsequently taken into custody by law enforcement officers with the Danville Police Department.
CA Vehicle Code 23152a (“Driving Under the Influence”) is the simplest of all California DUI laws. It applied to driving while intoxicated by the use of alcohol or drugs (even those for which you have a prescription). According to California Criminal Jury Instructions (16.831), the legal definition of ‘intoxication’ in these cases is when “your mental and/or physical faculties are impaired to such a degree that you no longer have the ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person.” Usually, this is treated as a misdemeanor, but sometimes can be considered a felony, especially if you have previous DUI charges on your record. Additionally, if alcohol is involved, you could be subject to CA Vehicle Code 23152(b), driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher (often referred to as the ‘per se’ law).
Penalties for a misdemeanor DUI charge may include, depending on the circumstances, informal probation, up to $1,000 in fines, up to 1 year in county jail, suspension of your driver’s license, attendance at a California state approved DUI school. Additionally, and most likely in his case, you may be forced to offer monetary restitution to third parties affected by your actions and to participate in various community service efforts.