DUI Offenses in California – Introduction

DUI offenses in California are pursued aggressively and punished with little forgiveness. Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (commonly known as a “DUI”) is made unlawful in the state of California by two corresponding provisions in the California Vehicle Code (hereto referred to as VC).

  • VC §23152(a) makes driving under the influence a misdemeanor
  • VC §23152(b) makes it a misdemeanor to operate a vehicle while maintaining a blood alcohol content of .08% or more.

A person may be charged with a DUI in any circumstance in which impairment to their ability to drive can be proven – this can mean anything from alcohol to methamphetamines. The penalties are the same for alcohol and for illegal drugs.

It is not unusual – in fact, it is commonplace – for an individual to be charged with crimes under both subsections (a) and (b) of the law for the same occurrence, although the penalties cannot be doubly enforced, as they are identical to one another.

Generally, if the accused has a conviction on their record for another DUI within the previous ten years, then all penalties (DUI school, suspension of driver’s license, and minimum sentences) are increased. While two prior convictions increases these penalties by a margin, three prior convictions will nearly certainly result in felony charges being brought, which are punishable by time in state prison. Standard penalties for DUI offenses in California vary by county. All DUI-related offenses are to be found in CA Vehicle Code, Division 11, Chapter 12.

When navigating DUI offenses in California, it’s best to have a skilled DUI lawyer by your side.