Driving Under the Influence


If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you need to act quickly to maintain your driving privileges. If you, or your attorney, do not request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days from the date of your arrest, your license automatically will be suspended after 30 days.

Consistent with the trend, the penalties against DUI offenses are getting more and more severe. However, it is not unlawful to drive with alcohol in one's system; in order to be found guilty of DUI, the level of alcohol (or drugs) must be sufficient to impair one's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, or, it must be above 0.08 percent or more in one's blood. The standard instructions to California juries read as follows:

Any person who while [under the influence of any alcoholic beverage] [or] [under the influence of any drug] [or] [under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug] [or] [addicted to the use of any drug] drives a vehicle is guilty of a violation of Vehicle Code section 23152, subdivision [(a)][(c)], a misdemeanor. 

[The term "drug," as used in this instruction, means any substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, which could so affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person as to impair, to an appreciable degree, [his] [her] ability to drive a vehicle in the manner that an ordinarily prudent and cautious person, in full possession of [his] [her] faculties, using reasonable care, would drive a similar vehicle under like conditions.] (CALJIC 16.830)

A person is [under the influence of an alcoholic beverage] [under the influence of a drug] [under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug] when as a result of [drinking such alcoholic beverage] [and] [using a drug] [his] [her] physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that [he ] [she] no longer has the ability to drive a vehicle with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances. (CALJIC 16.831)

And, with respect to driving with a blood alcohol level above 0.08 percent:

Every person who drives a vehicle with 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in [his] [her] blood is guilty of a violation of Vehicle Code section 23152, subdivision (b), a misdemeanor.
In order to prove this crime, each of the following elements must be proved: 

1. A person drove a vehicle; and 
2. At the time, the driver had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in [his] [her] blood. (CALJIC 16.830.1)

You may have a defense to a DUI charge of which you are not aware. You should contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss your case.



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