California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) VC: Driving Under The Combined Influence Of Alcohol And Drugs

Los Angeles DUIduid1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Under the law, there are a variety of different DUI offenses with which a driver could potentially be charged. Courts and the legislature have made it clear that driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of drugs are both forbidden. In addition to these separate offenses, a driver can be prosecuted under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) VC for driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.

In order for the defendant to be convicted of driving under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol, the following elements must be present:

  1. The defendant drove a vehicle AND

  2. When the defendant drove, he or she was under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.

A drug can be an illegal substance or a legally prescribed substance that causes impairment. It is not a defense that the defendant was legally entitled to use the drug.

2. Related Offenses

Similar offenses include the following:

  1. Driving under the influence of alcohol - California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC

  2. Driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher – California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC

  3. Driving under the influence of drugs – California Vehicle Code Section 23152(e) VC
3. Examples

A man is stopped after an officer observes him swerving over lane demarcations while driving on the freeway. The officer notices a slight odor of alcohol on the man’s breath and believes that he may be under the influence. The officer, who is certified as a Drug Recognition Expert (“DRE”) also notices that the man’s eyes are glazed. The man is unable to complete the field sobriety tests requested and the officer asks that the man provide a breath sample on his portable PAS device. The man blows into the device and registers a blood alcohol content of 0.07 percent. The officer suspects that the man is under the influence of another substance as well as alcohol, so he arrests the man and takes him for additional blood testing. The results of the blood test show the presence of marijuana in the man’s system. This man could be charged with driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) VC.

4. Defenses to Driving under the Combined Influence of Alcohol and Drugs

Before an officer can pull a vehicle over, he or she must have reasonable or probable cause that the driver is breaking the law. The driver cannot be pulled over based on an officer’s mere whim or idle curiosity. The driver may challenge the basis for the stop, and if successful all evidence resulting from that stop would be deemed inadmissible in court. At that point, the prosecutor would be unable to go forward with the case and the charges would likely be dismissed.

5. Penalties

A conviction under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) VC is typically a misdemeanor offense. The penalties assessed would depend on the facts of the case and whether or not the defendant has had prior DUI convictions. A judge may place the defendant on probation for three to five years and require numerous conditions of probation on that defendant. He or she would have to attend and complete a drug and alcohol education class and may have to spend time in jail. There may also be other requirements of probation, such as community labor or community service.

As long as the driver’s BAC was under 0.08 percent, the DMV will not take any administrative action against his or her driver’s license. However, if the driver is convicted in court under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) VC, the DMV will issue a license suspension regardless of what the driver’s BAC was as the time of the offense.

6. Criminal Defense for Driving under the Combined Influence of Alcohol and Drugs

If you have been charged with driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs, it is critical that you consult with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer as soon as possible. Immediately following the arrest there are steps that must be taken to ensure the driver can fight any potential driver’s license suspension. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is highly adept at defending clients charged with DUI crimes.

For more information about driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs, contact Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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