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California State Bar

Founding Members Award (NCDD)

Dean’s Award National College for DUI Defense

Common DUI Charges

VC §23152 (a) Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

A person can be charged with driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage when as a result of that drinking, his or her physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that he or 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. There is a permissive inference that you were under the influence if your alcohol level was above a 0.08% and a chemical test was given with a result of 0.08% or more within (3) hours of driving. This offense maybe charged if your alcohol concentration was above .05% at the time of driving based on evidence of impairment alone. Defendants with 1 or 2 prior convictions within ten years of the date of a separate offense are subject to mandatory minimum jail sentences up to a year and license suspensions up to 3 years. Out of State priors can count if they are proven to be “equivalent” under California law.

VC §23152 (a) Felony Driving Under the Influence With Priors.

A person who drives while under the influence of alcohol can be charged with a felony if they have suffered three separate convictions within ten years or have suffered a separate felony DUI conviction within the last ten years per Vehicle Code §23550.5. The 10 years runs from the date of the separate offense to the date of the new offense. Out of State priors can count if they are proven to be “equivalent” under California law.

VC §23152 (b) Driving With An Alcohol Level of 0.08% or Greater

Any person who drives a motor vehicle with a .08% or more alcohol level at the time of driving can be found guilty of this offense. There is a permissive inference that your alcohol level was a 0.08% or above at the time you were driving if a chemical test was given with a result of 0.08% or more within (3) hours of driving.

VC §23152 (b) Felony Driving With a 0.08% Percent or More With Priors

Any person drives a motor vehicle with .08% or more of alcohol in his or her blood and has suffered three prior convictions within ten years or has suffered a separate felony DUI conviction within the last ten years per Vehicle Code §23550.5. The 10 years runs from the date of the separate offense to the date of the new offense. Out of State priors can count if they are proven to be “equivalent” under California law.

VC §23152 (c) Driving While Addicted to Drugs

It is unlawful for any person who is addicted to any drug to drive a motor vehicle unless they are in an approved narcotic treatment program can be charged with this offense. This provision of the law is very troubling since there is no requirement that impairment be proven and would also punish someone who must take a drug for medical purposes.

VC §23152 (d) Commercial Drivers

Any person who has .04 percent or more by weight of alcohol in his or her blood while operating a commercial motor vehicle. Commercial drivers who face DUI charges in non-commercial vehicles are subject to the loss of their Commercial licenses as well. For further information. A second offense regardless of the vehicle involved is a lifetime commercial license revocation. Link To Consequences For Professionsals/Commercial Drivers and DUI

VC §23152 (e) Driving While Under the Influence of Drugs

Any person who drives a vehicle while under the influence of any drug.
“ Drug” 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 or her ability to drive a vehicle in the manner that an ordinarily prudent and cautious person in full possession of his or her faculties using reasonable care would drive a similar vehicle under like conditions. Click here for more information about DUI Drugs

VC §23152 (f) Driving While Under the Combined Influence of Drugs and Alcohol

Any person who drives a vehicle while under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug . These cases are very complex and complicated. Drugs and alcohol interact in different ways. You can have an alcohol level which, by itself would not be impairing, such as a 0.04% but, if you add marijuana, Xanax or opiate pain killers you may have a drug interaction where your impaired because the combination has a greater impact than either of the substances alone.

VC §23153 (a) (b) (e) (f) Felony Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol With Injury

Every person who while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drives with an alcohol level of 0.08% or above or who drives a vehicle while under the influence of a drug or the combined influence of a drug and alcohol AND does any act forbidden by law or neglects any duty imposed by law in the driving of the vehicle which act or neglect causes bodily injury to any person other than himself or herself.
Vehicle Code §23153 can be charged in many different ways depending on the severity of the injuries to victims other than the driver. Very minor injuries will result in a misdemeanor charge which carries a minimum sentence of (5) days in County Jail and a (1) year driver’s license suspension. If the injuries are more than superficial, the District Attorney will likely file the case as a felony. This is particularly true in cases where victims were taken to a hospital facility. When this happens, the bail will likely be set at $100,000. If the injuries qualify as “Great Bodily Injury” the case will include a special enhancement allegation which makes the case a serious and violent felony (Strike); adds a consecutive (3) years on to the sentence and reduces good time and work time credits from ½ time to 15% and makes a probationary sentence much more difficult.

Enhancements To Dui Sentences

PC §12022.7 (c) (8) Infliction of Great Bodily Injury

Once there is injury to another person who is not an accomplice in the offense the charge can be elevated to a felony and the special enhancement allegation in §12022.7(c)(8) applies if the driver personally inflicted great bodily injury to another during the commission of a felony. This enhancement makes the DUI a “Strike” and would add a 3-5 year consecutive enhancement onto a prison sentence. In addition, because the offense is deemed to be a “strike” you must serve 85% of your final sentence rather than 50%.

VC §23572 (a) (1) thru VC 23572 (a) (4) Child Endangerment

If any person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 and a minor under 14 years of age was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the court shall impose the following penalties in addition to any other penalty prescribed:

Could range from mandatory 48 hours to 90 days in the
county jail depending on number prior DUI convictions

The District Attorney could also charge this under Penal Code §273 as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts of each case and whether the child in the vehicle was the child of the driver.

VC §23578 Alcohol Level Which is 0.15% or Greater

In addition to any other provision of this code, if a person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, the court shall consider a concentration of alcohol in the person’s blood of .015% or more by weight as a special factor that may justify enhancing the penalties in sentencing, in determining whether to grant probation and if probation is granted, in determining additional or enhanced terms and conditions of probation (Usually a 6 Month Alcohol Program)

VC §23538 (b) (2) Alcohol Level Which is 0.20% or Greater

The court shall also impose as a condition of probation that the driver shall enroll and participate in and successfully complete a driving under the influence program for at least nine months. Any restricted license issued will remain in effect until the program is completed.

VC §23582 Reckless Speed Enhancement

Any person who drives a vehicle 30 or more miles per hour over the maximum, prima facie or posted speed limit on a freeway or 20 or more miles per hour over the maximum prima facie or posted speed limit on any other street or highway and in a manner prohibited by Section 23103 during the commission of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, be punished by an additional and consecutive term of 60 days in the county jail.

Related Offenses

VC S20002 Hit and Run

The driver of any vehicle knowingly involved in an accident resulting in damage to any property including vehicles other than his her own must immediately stop his or her vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists, and do either of the following:
Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and upon locating the driver of any damaged property, upon being requested, present his or her driver’s license and vehicle registration of the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. The information presented shall include the current residence address of the driver and of the registered owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene he or she shall also upon request present his or her driver’s license information if available or other valid identification to the other involved parties.
Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of California Highway Patrol.
A hit and run conviction is considered to be a crime of moral turpitude which can effect professional licensing.

VC §20001 (a) (b1) ( b2) Hit and Run With Bodily Injury

Every person who as the driver of any vehicle is knowingly involved in an accident resulting in the death of or injury to any person other than himself/herself must:
Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident
Give his or her name current residence address the names and correct residence addresses of any occupants of the driver’s vehicle injured in the accident the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving and the name and current address of the owner of the vehicle to the person struck or the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with and to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident, and the driver or injured occupant of a driver’s vehicle shall upon request if available exhibit his or her driver’s license to such persons and officer;
Provide reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident, including the transportation or making arrangements for the transportation of any injured person to a physician surgeon or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or that transportation is requested by the injured person
Vehicle Code §20001 can be charged in many different ways depending on the severity of the injuries to victims other than the driver. Very minor injuries will result in a misdemeanor charge which carries a minimum sentence of (5) days in County Jail and a (1) year driver’s license suspension. If the injuries are more than superficial, the District Attorney will likely file the case as a felony. This is particularly true in cases where victims were taken to a hospital facility. When this happens, the bail will likely be set at $100,000. If the injuries qualify as “Great Bodily Injury” the case will include a special enhancement allegation which makes the case a serious and violent felony (Strike); adds a consecutive (3) years on to the sentence and reduces good time and work time credits from ½ time to 15% and makes a probationary sentence much more difficult.
Hit and Run charges are frequently filed together with DUI Injury charges which will increase the likely overall punishment flowing from the incident.

VC §20001 (a) (b1) ( b2) Hit and Run With Great Bodily Injury

Vehicle Code §20001 can be charged in many different ways depending on the severity of the injuries to victims other than the driver. Very minor injuries will result in a misdemeanor charge which carries a minimum sentence of (5) days in County Jail and a (1) year driver’s license suspension. If the injuries are more than superficial, the District Attorney will likely file the case as a felony. This is particularly true in cases where victims were taken to a hospital facility. When this happens, the bail will likely be set at $100,000. If the injuries qualify as “Great Bodily Injury” the case will include a special enhancement allegation which makes the case a serious and violent felony (Strike); adds a consecutive (3) years on to the sentence and reduces good time and work time credits from ½ time to 15% and makes a probationary sentence much more difficult.
Hit and Run charges are frequently filed together with DUI Injury charges which will increase the likely overall punishment flowing from the incident.

VC §23103 Reckless Driving

A person who drives a vehicle upon a street or highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.

VC §23103.5 “Wet Reckless”

If the prosecution agrees to a plea of guilty or nolo contender to a charge of a violation of Section 23103 in satisfaction of or as a substitute for an original charge of a violation of 23152 the prosecution shall state for the record a factual basis for the satisfaction or substitution including whether or not there had been consumption of an alcoholic beverage or ingestion or administration of a drug or both, by the defendant in connection with the offense.
It is important to note that there is no such crime as a “Wet Reckless”. If a driver accepts a negotiated plea reducing a DUI to a “Wet Reckless” they are pleading to VC§23103 which is Reckless Driving. A DUI is NOT on their record! It only matters in the event that the person re-offends and is charged with and convicted of a new DUI within (10) years. In such cases, the punishment will be that which would have applied if the original case where a 23152.

VC §23104 Reckless Driving With Injury

Reckless driving of a vehicle which proximately causes injury to a person other than the driver.

VC §23105 Reckless Driving With Injury

A person convicted of violating section 23104 of the Vehicle Code namely reckless driving whose driving caused a person other than the driver to suffer one or more of the following injures, namely a loss of consciousness; a concussion; a bone fracture; a protracted loss of impairment of function of a bodily member or organ; a wound requiring extensive suturing; a serious disfigurement; brain injury or paralysis. These injuries elevate the charge to a felony with a sentence range of 16 months – 24 months or 36 months in State Prison.

VC §23109 Speed Contest

A person who engages in a motor vehicle speed contest on a street or highway or engages in an exhibition of speed which is a willful act of showing off or displaying a dangerous and imprudent speed where the presence of another person is known to the driver or may reasonably be anticipated by him or her is guilty of a misdmeanor.

VC §14601 Driving On Suspended License (Bad Driver Suspensions)

VC §14601 mainly regulates bad drivers. It applies where the suspension or revocation resulted from either a conviction of reckless driving (§§23103 and 23104), or any reason that would be grounds for refusing a license under §12805 (b)-(f) (alcoholism, lapses of consciousness, marked confusion, lack of skill, unable to learn rules of the road and illiteracy), or negligent or incompetent operation under §§12809(e) and 12810.

VC §14601.1 Driving On Suspended License (FTA, Financial Responsibility Etc.)

Every person who drives a motor vehicle at any time when his or her driving privilege is suspended or revoked and who has knowledge of the suspension or revocation of this driving privilege. It applies where the suspension or revocation resulted from failures to appear, failures to pay fines, child support and failure to maintain insurance.

VC §14601.5 Driving in Violation of Restricted License

Every person who drives a motor vehicle at any time when that person’s driving privilege is suspended or revoked pursuant to Section 13353, 13353.1, or 13353.2 (DMV Administrative Actions) and that person has knowledge of the suspension or revocation or outside the scope of any restriction of their driving privilege.

VC §14601.2 Driving On Suspended License - DUI Conviction Related

Every person who drives a motor vehicle at any time when his or her driving privilege is suspended or revoked because of a DUI conviction and who has knowledge of the suspension or revocation of this driving privilege

VC §12500(a) Unlicensed Driver

Every person who drives s motor vehicle upon a highway who does not hold a valid driver’s license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles

Punishment Chart For Suspended License Offenses

14601(b)(1) NO Priors

5 days to 6 months and $300 to $1000. Vehicle impound option

14601(b)(2) and (c) 1 or more priors within 5 years of offense under this section or §14601.1, §14601.2, §14601.5.

10 days to 1 year and $500 to $2000.

Ignition Interlock Device shall be ordered for up to 3 years if plea is in satisfaction of, or a substitute for, an original charge of
§14601.2, except in interests of justice.
Vehicle impound option.

14601.1(b)(1) NO Priors

Zero to 6 months and/or $300 to $1000. Vehicle impound option.

14601.1(b)(2) 1 or more priors, within 5 years of offense under this section or §14601, §14601.2, §14601.5.

5 days to 1 year and $500 to $2000.

Ignition Interlock Device shall be ordered for up to 3 years if plea is in satisfaction of, or a substitute for, an original charge of
§14601.2, except in interests of justice.
Vehicle impound option.

14601.2 (d)(1), (e), and (h) No Priors

strong>10 days to 6 months and $300 ,or $1000

But see §14601.3(e)(3) punishment instead if habitual traffic offender.* Any jail must be served behind bars if injury (§14601.4(b)***).
Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device for one day to three years.
Vehicle impound option.

14601.2 (d)(2), (f),and (h) 1 or more priors, within 5 years of
offense under this section or §14601.5.

30 days to 1 year and $500 to $2000,

But §14601.3(e)(3) punishment instead if habitual traffic offender.* Any jail must be served behind bars if injury (§14601.4(b)***).
Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device for one day to three years.
Vehicle impound option.

§14601.2(g)and (h) 1 or more priors, within 5 to 7 years of offense under this section or§14601, §14601.1

10 days to 6 months and up to $1,000.

* Any jail must be served behind bars if injury (§14601.4(b)***).
Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device for one day to three years.
Vehicle impound option.

14601.3(e)(1) NO Priors

Mandatory 30 days and $1,000 Vehicle impound option
14601.3(e)(2)* 1 or more, within 7 years of
conviction of this section only.

Mandatory 180 days and $2000.
Vehicle impound option,

14601.5(d)(1) NO Priors

Zero to 6 months and $300 to $1000.

Vehicle impound option

14601.5(d)(2) 1 or more Priors, within 5 years of
offense under this section

10 days to 1 year and $500 to $2000.

Ignition Interlock Device shall be ordered for up to 3 years if plea is in satisfaction of, or a substitute for, an original charge of
§14601.2, except in interests of justice.
Vehicle impound option.

PC §647(f) Drunk In Public

Every person found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance, or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others or by reason of his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug or toluene, interfered with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way.

VC §23225 Open Container

It is unlawful or the registered owner of any motor vehicle to keep in a motor vehicle when the vehicle is upon any highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220 any bottle can or other receptacle containing any alcoholic beverage that has been opened or a seal broken or the contents of which have been partially removed, unless the container is kept in the trunk of the vehicle. Conviction leads to a (1) year license suspension if minor.

Business and Professions Code §25662 Minor in Possession

Any minor is prohibited from possession an alcoholic beverage in any public place.
VC 13202.5
A conviction for violating possession of an alcoholic beverage under the age of 21 but 13 years of age or older, the court shall suspend the person’s driving privilege for one year. If the person convicted does not have the privilege to drive, the court shall order the department to delay issuing the privilege to drive for one year subsequent to the time the person becomes legally eligible to drive…

VC §2800.1 Misdemeanor Evading

A person while operating a motor vehicle is trying to evade a police officer whose marked unit is exhibiting at least one lighted red lamp visible from the front and the person either sees or reasonably should have seen the lamp; and the peace officer’s motor vehicle is sounding a siren as may be reasonably necessary and the peace officer’s motor vehicle is distinctively marked and the peace officer’s motor vehicle is operated by a peace officer wearing a distinctive uniform.
The punishment for VC 2800.1 ranges up to 1 year in county jail and a fine of $1,000 plus penalty assessments.

VC §2800.2 Felony Evading

Any person who in violation of VC§2800.1 drives with willful and wanton disregard for safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless evading which can be a felony charge with a maximum term of (3) years in State Prison.

VC §2800.2 Felony Evading With Injuries

Any person who drives in violation of VC§2800.1 and injures another person is guilty of a felony with a state prison sentence of up to 10 years.

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By Barry T. Simons: “It is my honor and privilege to fight for my clients; challenge unjust laws; protect our Constitution and to be a thorn on the side of injustice”.

By Barry T. Simons: “It is my honor and privilege to fight for my clients; challenge unjust laws; protect our Constitution and to be a thorn on the side of injustice”.