It is easy to believe that you will never face a DUI charge, or have a loved one or family member accused of DUI. The fact is, however, that DUI arrests and charges happen all the time. Even the person whom you would least expect to drive under the influence could easily make a mistake and end up facing DUI charges. Since the consequences of a DUI conviction can be negative, everyone needs to know what DUI is and how to avoid a DUI conviction.
California law defines DUI as driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. Under California's zero tolerance law, if you are under the age of 21, you can face DUI charges if you are driving with any amount of alcohol in your system. A separate law makes it illegal for minors to drive with a BAC measuring between .05% and .0799%. Minors will face standard DUI charges if they have a BAC measuring .08% or higher.
What Does California Law Consider to Be a Vehicle?
A vehicle is defined by California law as something that is self-propelled or powered by something other than a human. This is why you also can be charged with DUI if you are driving a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if you are driving a boat with a BAC of .08% or higher.
Do I Have to Be Actually Driving in Order to Be Charged with DUI?
Under the California Vehicle Code, you must be driving in order to commit DUI. This means that you are intentionally causing the vehicle to move by exercising actual physical control over it. The movement of the vehicle can be very slight, but there must be movement in order for your actions to be a DUI. However, you can be convicted of DUI even if the police don't physically see you driving your vehicle, based on circumstantial evidence. For example, a police officer could identify your car after receiving a report from a witness who saw you driving the vehicle erratically.
Can I Still Get a DUI for Smoking Marijuana Since It Is Legal in California?
You may face DUI charges if you have smoked marijuana to the extent that it impairs your ability to drive. Unlike alcohol, there is no standard amount of THC that definitively establishes impairment by marijuana. Therefore, proving impairment by marijuana usage or THC levels is not always easy to do. California lawmakers have attempted to address this problem, at least to some degree, by enacting Senate Bill 65, which Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law. SB 65 makes it illegal to drive or ride as a passenger in a vehicle while smoking or ingesting marijuana or any marijuana product. This law takes effect on January 1, 2018.
Call Us Today for the Help You Need
While a DUI arrest is no laughing matter, it also is a common situation that occurs every day in the lives of all types of people. Our goal is to help you effectively resolve a DUI charge in a timely and efficient manner and minimize the potentially negative consequences of an arrest and conviction. There are many strong defenses available to you in DUI cases, and proven strategies that we have used in the past to help out other clients in the same situation. Contact us today at the
Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry
in order to set up a time to speak with us about your case.