Vehicle Code 23152(a)

What is Vehicle Code 23152(a)?

In California, Vehicle Code (VC) 23152(a) makes it a crime to drive while “under the influence” of alcohol in California. This means that you cannot drive if you have symptoms of intoxication, even if there is no evidence that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit of 0.08%.

VC 23152(a) reads:

(a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.


What are the penalties for violating VC 23152(a)?

The penalty for violating VC 23152(a) may vary depending on whether you have had prior convictions. Most DUIs are charged as misdemeanors, but a fourth conviction usually results in a felony.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor VC 23152(a), you may face probation for three to five years, up to one year in county jail, a fine of at least $390, DUI school classes, suspension of your driver’s license for up to six months, and a negative impact on your insurance policy.

Felony DUI charges will result in additional penalties.

What does the prosecution have to prove to convict me of VC 23152(a)?

To convict you of driving under the influence, the prosecution must prove:

  1. You were driving a vehicle, and
  2. You were under the influence of alcohol when you were driving.

The prosecution will usually rely on the officer’s observations from when he/she pulled you over. The officer may testify that you:

  • Failed the field sobriety tests,
  • Swerved or drove erratically,
  • Admitted to drinking,
  • Slurred your speech, and/or
  • Smelled of alcohol

How do I fight a VC 23152(a) charge?

You may feel that once you have been charged with DUI, your case is impossible to win and you should just plead guilty. This is not true! There are many ways to fight a DUI charge successfully.

One of the most common defenses against a DUI charge is that alcohol was not the reason for your impairment. You could have been distracted or looking for directions, which would account for your erratic driving. If you appeared intoxicated, it could have been due to allergies, sickness, or other factors.

Another approach to a defense case against a DUI charge is showing that law enforcement did not adhere to proper procedure. This includes not having the probable cause to arrest you or not storing your blood sample adequately.


What should I do if I’ve been charged with DUI?

You must show up to a DMV hearing and go to court. The DMV has a deadline of 10 CALENDAR days after your arrest for you to schedule a DMV hearing and fight an automatic license suspension. If you do not meet their deadline of ten calendar days, the DMV may suspend your license for four months to three years, depending on the severity of your DUI charge. Because these consequences are severe, it is essential to find an experienced attorney within the time limit of 10 days. A skilled attorney may be the difference between keeping your license and losing it. Attorney Lisa Z. Liu has helped many of her clients successfully fight DUI cases in court and she will personally handle your case. Contact the Law Offices of Lisa Z. Liu for a free, confidential consultation today.