DUI Laws in San Diego

April 20th, 2010

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Driving under the influence (DUI) is the act of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.

In an effort to expand their anti-drunk driving arsenal; California has enacted separate laws that prohibit both driving with a level over point zero eight (.08) and driving under the influence. This enables the prosecution to still charge you with a crime if your driving abilities were not apparently impaired as is required when charged with driving under the influence. There are two basic drunk driving laws in San Diego, which are found in Vehicle Code section 23152, sections (a) and (b):

  • 23152(a) It is a misdemeanor for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.
  • 23152(b) It is a misdemeanor for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.

In the vast majority of cases, people arrested in San Diego for a DUI are charged with violating both section 23152(a) and section 23152(b). Even though there is only one act, the law states that a defendant charged with DUI can be convicted of both offenses, but can only be punished for one.

DUI Conviction

If convicted of a DUI in San Diego, your sentence will most likely depend on a number of different factors, including your blood alcohol level at the time of your arrest, the circumstances surrounding your arrest, and whether or not you have a prior criminal history

In most cases and courts , the following minimum penalties for a DUI conviction will be imposed for first-time offenders:

  • three years of summary (informal) probation
  • a fine of approximately $1,600 (this figure includes court fees and mandatory penalty assessments)
  • required attendance at a first offense (AB-541) 36-hour alcohol education program
  • 90-day license restriction allowing driving to and from work, in the course of employment, and to and from any alcohol education program
  • a MADD program or a supplemental Victims Impact Panel (in some courts)

Penalties become much greater in the event of an injury or death related to the DUI. Vehicle Code section 23153 sets forth the ” felony DUI” provisions where an injury results from the DUI, while Penal Code sections 191.5 and 192 describe the crime of “vehicular manslaughter”.