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What "Driving Under the Influence" Really Means in California

California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) makes it illegal for one to, drive, "under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, or a drug, or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug." This can be just as true in regard to lawfully prescribed medication, as seriously illegal controlled substances.

In today's pressure packed world, what we are seeing more and more of, are situations where individuals are taking a wide range of drugs - in addition to a limited (a drink or two) amount of an alcoholic beverage. But just because a given individual took some kind of prescription or non-prescription drug, with a limited amount of alcohol, does not necessarily mean that that person would be thereafter automatically driving in violation of California law if they drove a vehicle.

How Can I Be Convicted Of DUI?

When cases such as this are fought out in court, what it comes down to is the judge instructing the jury on what the California law is at the end of the case. The California Criminal Jury Instructions for misdemeanor (non-injury) DUI are found in CALCRIM Sections 2010 and 2011.

In this regard, CALCRIM Section 2010 provides in part:

A person is under the influence if, as a result of drinking or consuming an alcoholic beverage and or taking a drug, his or her mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.

and that

The manner in which a person drives is not enough by itself to establish whether the person is or is not under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or a drug or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug. However, it is a factor to be considered, in light of all the surrounding circumstances, in deciding whether the person was under the influence.

So under the facts of a given case, was the driver, so impaired that he was, "no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances?" That is the question - for the Jury to answer.

When you have been accused of DUI in San Diego, the experience of being accused and going through trial is one that no one should experience on their own. With the help of Attorney Mark De Yoe, you have a proven and seasoned advocate on your side that will not stop until you recover your best possible outcome.