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What is Impaired Driving in California? Breaking Down the Law

Impaired Driving in California

It is not difficult to get a DUI in the state of California. Under state law, it is unlawful to drive while impaired by alcohol or any kind of drug. Even a diabetic with an insulin imbalance could be arrested for DUI in California.

One source reports 214,828 DUI arrests in California in 2013. While the majority of those arrests were for driving under the influence of alcohol, California motorists can be arrested for driving under the influence of drugs as well. Illicit drugs, legal, prescription drugs and over the counter drugs can all cause impairment.

The DUI defense attorney at Andrade Law Offices knows the tactics that insurance companies use to deny claims or persuade accident victims to settle for lower compensation than you deserve.

Steven R. Andrade was a former prosecutor and familiar with both sides of the criminal justice system. He uses that legal knowledge to your advantage. Mr. Andrade has decades of experience and has represented thousands of clients charged with DUI.

What is Impaired Driving in California?

The criminal offense of driving under the influence and related offenses are defined in Sections 23152 through 23229.1 of the California Vehicle Code. State law on the subject of DUI is complex.

Among other things, the law addresses adult drivers, underage drivers, commercial drivers, drug addicted drivers, drivers on probation, and offenses committed while driving impaired.

However, the statute, as quoted below, is quite clear on the following points:

  • “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.”
  • “It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.”
  • “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.”
  • “It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.”

As in most states in the country, the legal limit for adult drivers in California is .08% blood alcohol content (BAC). For commercial drivers, the limit is lower, at .04%. Anyone who is on probation for DUI can be charged with a subsequent offense and suffer a driver’s license suspension for driving with a BAC of .01% or higher.

Under our state’s “zero tolerance” laws, drivers under the age of 21 can be charged with an alcohol related offense and face a one year suspension if evidence establishes that the under aged person drove with a BAC content of .01% or higher. Additionally, it is unlawful (with certain exceptions) for anyone under the age of 21 to knowingly drive a vehicle carrying any alcohol or for passengers under the age of 21 to have any alcohol in their possession or control.

Legal Defense Against DUI in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties

If you have been arrested for DUI, your first move is to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. You have been arrested – not convicted. It is important to aggressively fight DUI charges from the beginning.

Even with a first offense DUI, penalties can include license suspension, fines, jail time, a DUI program, and ignition interlock device installation. Penalties become more severe with subsequent offenses. A conviction on your record can raise your insurance rates and hurt your future employment and educational prospects.

At Andrade Law Offices, we fight tirelessly to protect your rights. We offer free DMV hearings for all DUI clients. Attorney Andrade is a former prosecutor who has successfully defended thousands of clients against DUI charges. He has been recognized as one of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers. We are committed to providing the best DUI defense for our clients throughout Santa Barbara County.