Ventura DUI Law
First, it is important to realize that drinking and driving is one hundred percent legal, provided that you are over 21. Second, nearly everyone who drinks has done it at some point. Drinking and driving only becomes a crime when either you've become impaired for purposes of driving or your alcohol level is at or above 0.08%.
A Ventura DUI arrest usually involves two charges:
Vehicle Code Section 23152(a), which deals with impairment due to alcohol, drugs, or any combination thereof, and
Vehicle Code Section 23152(b), which concerns the legal limit for alcohol of .08%.
Under both charges, the prosecution must prove that you were actually driving the vehicle, which can sometimes be impossible for them to do, depending on the circumstances.
California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a)
This count is typically a surprise to most people, who are familiar with the concept of a DUI involving a legal limit of .08%. However, under the (a) count to a DUI, the law states:
It is unlawful 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.
There are typically 3 ways that the prosecution will attempt to establish the (a) count against you in a Ventura DUI. First, they will attempt to use the driving pattern against you. Second, the prosecution will attempt to use your performance on the Field Sobriety Tests, or FSTs, to establish the (a) count against you in a DUI prosecution. Having an attorney who has been certified by the Sheriff's Department in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests is an enormous asset in attacking the prosecution's attempt to use your performance on the FSTs against you. Third, the prosecution will argue that if your alcohol level is above a .08%, then you are also impaired for purposes of the (a) count in a DUI.
California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b)
This count is the portion of a Ventura DUI that most people are familiar with. Under the (b) count to a DUI, the law states:
It is unlawful for any person with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher to drive a vehicle.
However, in order to prove this charge against you, the prosecution must prove that your alcohol level was .08% or more at the time of driving.
Depending on the facts of your case, there may be any number of aspects of your breath or blood test that can be attacked by an experienced DUI attorney. For example, in a breath test case, it must be established that the accuracy checks and calibrations were performed according to the requirements of the law, and also that the officer was qualified to use the machine and followed the guidelines and procedures set by the State of California and the manufacturer. In a blood test case, the passage of time from getting pulled over to the blood draw can seriously impact the results of the test, and it must be proven that the blood was drawn and stored properly, that the vial was labeled accurately and that the appropriate chain of evidence procedures were followed.
In addition, there are many cases where it is difficult for the prosecution to establish a time of driving, such as when driving was not witnessed by the arresting officer or other law enforcement. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Ventura County, please call (805)564-4DUI to schedule a free consultation Ventura DUI attorney Jasen Nielsen.