Driving Under The Influence: What The Prosecutor Must Prove

lawnmower.jpgYou have been charged with drunk driving under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) or 23152(b) . In order for the jury to find you guilty, the prosecution has the burden to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Under 23152(a), driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, a drug, or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug, the state must prove that you drove a vehicle and when you drove, you were under the influence.

Under 23152(b), driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more, the state must prove that you drove a vehicle and when you drove, your blood alcohol level was 0.08 percent or more by weight.

In Louisiana, a man was arrested for drunk driving after he drove a lawn mower on northbound LA Highway 1, just south of Lockport, according to wdsu.com. He was driving with a long line of cars behind him as he swerved into the southbound lanes. An officer pulled him over and smelled alcohol on his breath. His speech was slurred and he allegedly could not complete the field sobriety tests. His blood-alcohol concentration, BAC, was estimated at .312 percent. He was arrested for DWI, driving while intoxicated, which is Louisiana’s version of California’s DUI laws.

So, is this a lawful arrest for drunk driving if this happened in San Diego County or anywhere in California? Assuming the facts in the article to be true and not having any discovery in the matter to review, the general answer is yes.

The courts have found that the defendant must have been driving which requires any volitional movement of the vehicle, (See Mercer v. DMV). The vehicle code describes a vehicle as a “device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device move exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.” Note that even though the vehicle code usually applies to “highways” under VC 23100, drunk driving laws may even apply to private property.

So, for the Louisiana case, the defendant was driving a lawn mower, powered by a gas motor, on a public roadway. Allegedly, he had a BAC over a .08, therefore, his arrest for drunk driving was lawful.

If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving in San Diego County, hire an exclusively DUI defense firm that will aggressively defend your case. Do not just plead guilty even if you had a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above the legal limit of .08%. There may still be defenses in your case that can lead to reduced charges with less punishment, or even a dismissal! For a free, confidential consultation, contact The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman today at 619-260-1122 or use the “Contact Us” form on this page.

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