DUI can mean different things in different places. Each state sets its own standards for blood alcohol content, drug use and age standards. In California, the statues that govern DUI can primarily be found in the California Vehicle Code 23152, and you’ll find the basic information in layman’s terms on the most common DUI types in southern California. If you’re facing a DUI arrest though, reading the code can only tell you so much, and that’s where an experienced DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can really help.
Two most common DUI arrests
There are two primary types of DUI arrest in California: driving impaired and per se DUI. Driving impaired is a subjective test of your state while you’re behind the wheel. It is the statue that is used on all the TV shows where you see a person standing on the side of the road with an officer telling them to touch their nose with a finger or walk a straight line. The officer uses his or her judgment to determine whether you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol enough to alter your normal motor skills and reaction times. If they deem it likely you are under the influence, they will often then ask you to submit a breathalyzer or blood sample to determine if you are per se DUI.
Per se DUI is in play when you have a specific amount of alcohol in your blood, called Blood Alcohol Content or BAC. This is an objective test, based on what the law makers in California have decided is too much alcohol to safely operate a vehicle for the average person. The amount of BAC allowed varies some with your particular circumstances.
Under California law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if:
- You are 21 years old or older and have a BAC of 0.08% or higher
- You are under 21 years old and have a BAC of 0.01% or higher
- You are operating a commercial vehicle and have a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
Other types of DUI arrests
DUI lawyers in Los Angeles will tell you that alcohol is the most common substance cited in DUI arrests, but driving under the influence of other substances is also covered under the California DUI laws. Obviously, illegal drugs in your system can lead to a DUI arrest along with any other related charges. But, even prescription and over the counter medications can lead to a DUI arrest. As a general rule of thumb, if your prescription medication has a warning label that tells you not to operate heavy machinery, you shouldn’t drive while it is in your system. If you’re over the counter medication contains alcohol, such as some cough syrups, or has warnings about drowsiness, you also should not drive while it is in your system, or it may lead to a charge of DUI.
A DUI is never worth the headache, and for your safety and others it’s always best to use a designated driver if you are drinking or if you aren’t sure if your medication has left you at less than your best. If you are in the unhappy situation of already being faced with a DUI arrest, contact an experienced DUI lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as possible to help protect your rights and walk you through the process.
Call Jon Artz today at (310) 820-1315 for a private consultation.