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California DUI Laws

California’s DUI law is actually two separate laws, one subjective and one objective. According to California Vehicle Code 23152(a), it is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. This is the subjective part of the equation and typically what causes the police officer to pull you over. The objective part of the DUI equation is in California Vehicle Code 23152(b), which makes it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher.

The Elements and the Proof

In order to be convicted of a California DUI charge, the prosecution must prove the existence of two elements:

The good news for you is that proving these two elements is not easy.

Of course the first element of proving that you were driving is often times a moot point (i.e., if the officer sees you driving, the element is considered established). However, more often than not, this is not the actual case. For example, if you are asleep in the car, can it be assumed you were driving? What if the motor is running but the car is in park, are you driving? Or for the odd case where the driver had a heart attack and went unconscious and the passenger, who had been drinking, reached over, grabbed the steering wheel and brought the car to park before it hit a pedestrian – are they ‘driving’ (in this particular case, the court ruled they were and found them guilty of a DUI).

In general, California case law requires some movement of the vehicle in order to satisfy the driving requirement, which can be proved by circumstantial evidence (i.e., inferred from the surrounding circumstances).

It is the second element that can be harder for the prosecution to prove. According to the law, you are ‘under the influence’ when ‘your physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that you no longer have the ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances’. Typically this element will be proved by a field sobriety test – which have all sorts of loopholes.

Your Los Angeles DUI Attorney

Since a DUI case is difficult to prove, there is a lot of room for you to make a defense argument. To ensure that your case is properly argued, you should seek the services of an experienced LA DUI attorney.

The Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman specialize in defending LA DUI charges. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge, seek the support of an attorney practicing only in criminal defense. Remember, when your future is on the line, call the Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman at 310.286.1218 for your free initial consultation.

Office Locations

12711 Ventura Blvd.
Ste. 410
Studio City, CA 91604

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15th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90025

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Ste. #110
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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