Driving Under the Influence and “Self-Driving” Technology
“Self-driving” technology is becoming increasingly common in newer vehicles. Perhaps the most talked about self-driving technology can be found in Tesla electric vehicles, where “enhanced autopilot” software can steer, break, accelerate, change lanes, and execute other driving maneuvers on both the highway and surface streets. This “self-driving” technology found in Tesla and other vehicles, however, is not autonomous. It still requires the attentiveness and engagement of the driver. Accordingly, despite these advancements, it is illegal in California to get behind the wheel and operate a vehicle even if it is equipped with this technology, if under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, and/or if you have a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of .08% or more.Driving Under the Influence
Driving Under the Influence is typically charged as a misdemeanor in California. However, under certain circumstances, you can be charged with a felony DUI. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to DUIs involving prior DUI Arrests (fourth DUI offense), DUI with injury, and vehicle manslaughter.
California Vehicle Code sections 23152(a), (f), and (g) prohibits driving under the influence. To be found guilty of driving under the influence, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant drove a vehicle;
- When the defendant drove, the defendant was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, a drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and drug.
California Vehicle Code section 23152 (b) prohibits driving with a .08% blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”). To be found guilty of driving under the influence with a .08% BAC, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant drove a vehicle;
- When the defendant drove, the defendant’s Blood Alcohol Concentration was .08% or more by weight.
California Vehicle Code sections 23153 pertain to DUI involving an injury. California Vehicle code section 23153 is a wobbler and can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. The decision to charge as a felony or misdemeanor often depends on the extent of the injuries.What Constitutes “Driving?”
“Driving” is somewhat of a misnomer. Vehicle Code sections 23152 requires does not require a defendant to have driven a specific distance or for a specific amount of time. Rather, all that is required for purposes of driving under the influence is “proof of volitional movement of a vehicle.” Mercer v. Dept. of Motor Vehicles (1991) 53 Cal.3d 753, 768. The “movement” in this instance may be slight. Padilla v. Meese (1986) 184 Cal.Appp.3d 1022, 1029. “Self-driving” technology is activated by the driver and once activated requires the driver’s engagement and interaction, all of which constitutes “driving” as defined for purposes of driving under the influence.
Driving Under the Influence is a serious allegation and a conviction could result in serious penalties and other consequences including jail time, extensive fines and fees, and the suspension of your driver’s license. If you or a family member has been charged with DUI in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, or Ventura County, it is imperative that you hire the best DUI defense attorney that you can. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut knows how to effectively defend clients who have been accused of both felony and misdemeanor DUIs.
For more information about all types of DUIs, and to schedule your free consultation, contact attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.