Maybe you bought one of those personal breathalyzers to make sure you are ok after having a drink or two. You know that in California the legal limit for a DUI is .08. But just because you are under the legal limit does not mean that you are NOT DUI.
Under the Influence
In most DUI cases the prosecutor charges with TWO counts. The charge Driving Under the Influence, VC 23152(a) and Driving with a .08 or Higher, VC 23152(b). No matter what your BAC is, if you are under the influence, you are guilty of a DUI. Under the influence means that the alcohol is affecting your mind or body in a way that you are no longer able to drive like an ordinary sober person.
Under the Influence of Drugs
You can also be guilty of driving under the influence of drugs, even prescription drugs. Also, if you are under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol, you are also guilty of a DUI. Again, it doesn’t matter what your BAC was if a prosecutor can prove you were under the influence.
How do they prove I was under the influence?
Officers are trained to look for certain signs of intoxication. For example, they will use your performance on any Field Sobriety Tests (FSts), your balance, your speech, and your driving pattern. So, if your case goes to trial, the officer will testify that they observed these things. It does not matter if your BAC is below .08 if they can show that you mind or body is affected by the alcohol, making you unable to drive like a normal sober person.
More ways you might be DUI
You are guilty of a DUI if you have a BAC of .04 or higher while driving a commercial vehicle. It does not matter whether the prosecutor can prove you were “under the influence.” They only need to prove your BAC. This is also true if you are driving passengers for hire, like an Uber or Lyft driver, or a taxi driver.
There are so many more issues that your attorney will need to take into consideration when defending DUI cases! Can we challenge the initial stop? Did law enforcement conduct the proper Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) correctly? Was the breath or blood test accurate? No two cases are the same. Because of this you should speak directly to an experienced criminal defense and DUI attorney to discuss the specifics of your case and how these issues and defenses may apply in your case.