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Driving Drunk in Santa Rosa – The Facts

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It’s a well known fact that when someone operates a vehicle while driving drunk in California they are breaking the law. Not all drunk drivers get caught, and it’s because not all drunk drivers get caught that many people justify and continue to drive drunk.

Driving Drunk in California Count A

Driving drunk encompasses more than most people think. In fact, there are two California Vehicle Code Sections that encompass drunk driving. The first is California Vehicle Code §32152(a), commonly referred to as “Count A,” which is driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. We’ve all seen the California Highway Patrol, Sonoma County Sherriff’s or Santa Rosa police pulled over to the side of the road conducting sobriety tests; they’ll have whomever they’ve pulled over walking in a straight line, standing on one foot while trying to touch their nose, and even better yet, trying to say the “ABC’s” backwards. If during the sobriety test a police officer observes what they believe to be someone who is intoxicated, he can arrest them based on those observations, and charge them with Count A.

Driving Drunk in California County B

The second California Vehicle Code § is 23152(b), which as you guessed, if commonly referred to as “Count B.” This code is the Blood-Alcohol (BAC) code, which states that if the driver submitted to a blood-alcohol test and the results showed a 0.08% or above, then the officer can further charge the driver with Count B.

One may ask what’s the purpose is of having two Vehicle Codes to deal with driving drunk? The answer is simple. Alcohol affects every person differently, and a person’s blood alcohol level is dependent on a variety of factors.

I was charged with driving drunk in Santa Rosa, but I only blew a 0.05…why??

The following are two examples:

For our first example, let’s us use a petite women that only drinks alcohol on special occasions. On her birthday, she has two glasses of wine at dinner and while driving home is pulled over by police because she is slightly swerving. During the sobriety test, she cannot walk in a straight line, she cannot stand on one foot and she definitely cannot say the ABC’s backwards. The officer also conducts a breathalyzer test, which the results come back 0.05%. Under Count A of the Vehicle Code, the woman was obviously driving while intoxicated; she couldn’t stand straight to save her life. Yet under Count B, her BAC was well below the 0.08% limit. Needless to say, the police arrested her based on violation of Count A, she was drunk.

Our second example is a slightly overweight gentleman who likes to drink beer at every dinner meal. On average he consumes a six-pack a night. On this particular night he was leaving his buddies house after watching Monday Night Football, he had roughly eight or nine Coors Light beers over the course of the game. While driving home, he is pulled over by police because he had a broken tail-light. Upon approaching the vehicle, the police officer observes the distinct scent of alcohol coming from the car. Based on his suspicion, the officer conducts a sobriety test. Due to his high alcohol tolerance, the gentleman in our second example was able to walk in a straight line, stand on one foot and touch his nose, and miraculously says his “ABC’s” backwards. The officer then conducts a breathalyzer test, and the results come back 0.11%, well above the legal limit. As expected, our slightly overweight gentleman is arrested for driving drunk.

As illustrated above, had there only been one California Vehicle Code section, our petite woman or slightly overweight gentleman would have escaped liability and not been charged with driving drunk. Yet due to the fact that the Vehicle Code has two sections dealing with driving drunk, both were appropriately charged.Beck Law P.C. can provide the knowledge and experience necessary to help guide you through the DUI legal process. Making an appointment to talk to us regarding the particulars of your DUI is an investment in exploring what options may or may not apply to your particular situation. Your visit to the Beck Law Offices is confidential, as is the information discussed. Headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, Beck Law P.C. offers DUI legal services to clients in Santa Rosa, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Windsor, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Bodega Bay, Ukiah, Willits, Clearlake, Lakeport, Kelseyville and throughout Sonoma County, Mendocino County and Lake County. You can contact our office at 707-576-7175 or contact us online.

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