Why have I been charged with violating both Vehicle Code section 23152(a) and 23152(b)?

Most people are surprised when they are charged with both a violation of Vehicle Code section 23152(a) and 23152(b), however, this is very common in alcohol-related DUI arrests. The prosecutor is alleging that you were both under the influence of alcohol to the point where you could no longer drive with the care and caution of a sober person and your blood alcohol level was 0.08% or higher. While you can be convicted of both charges you can only be punished once.

The drugs I had in my system were prescribed to me, how can I get a DUI?

Vehicle Code section 23152(a) prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or their combined effect. It does not matter if the drugs are illegal or legal and does not matter if you have a presciption or not. Just as alcohol may very well be legal for you to drink, it is not legal to drive once you have consumed enough alcohol that if effects your ability to drive safely. The same rules apply to prescription drugs; if the prescription drug effects your ability to safely operate a car then you can be arrested for driving under the influence of that prescription drug.

It says .08 on my ticket, does that mean that was my blood alcohol content?

Most likely, no. An officer usually writes the charges in shorthand on a ticket. He or she will sometimes write VC 23152(a) DUI VC 23152(b) >.08 The .08 is in reference to the fact that the charge requires your blood alcohol content to be above .08. Rarely will an officer write your blood alcohol content on the ticket. You usually will not know what your blood alcohol content was until you have a DMV Hearing or a court appearance.

The officer never read my Miranda Rights, does that mean my case will be dismissed?

No. Miranda rights are only required when an officer interrogates a subject who is in custody. The courts have determined that an officer's initial questioning during a traffic stop does not qualify as in-custody interrogation and, therefore, the Miranda warnings are not required. If the officer asked you questions after he placed you in custody, without Miranda, then your statements may be suppressed (meaning that they cannot be used against you in court).

I did "well" on my field sobriety tests, does that mean I won't be charged with a DUI?

  • Keep in mind that the tests you do on the side of the road are not "pass/fail" and an officer will almost always find something you did wrong that he or she will label as a sure sign you were intoxicated.
  • But even if you do perform the tests well, you can still be charged with a DUI. Those tests are only one factor that law enforcement takes into account when determining whether or not to arrest and charge you.
  • Even if you did "well" on your field sobriety tests you can still be charged with a violation of Vehicle Code section 23152(a) if the officer thinks that you were driving poorly and showed signs of being under the influence. Your performance on the tests could definitely help you in negotiating a deal or at trial.
  • Vehicle Code section 23152(b) only requires that your blood alcohol content be 0.08% or greater, it does not matter if you show any objective signs of being under the influence. If an officer sees that your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or greater he is likely going to arrest you and the District Attorney will likely charge you with driving under the influence.