Blog‎ > ‎

Elements of DUI: What the District Attorney must prove to convict

posted Mar 25, 2013, 11:00 AM by Patrick Campbell
If you were charged under California Vehicle Code section 23152(a), the prosecution must prove that you drove a vehicle while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug or the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug. In order to meet their burden of proof, "beyond a reasonable doubt", they will use the chemical analysis of your blood test, urine test or breath test to establish there was 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in your blood at the time the test was performed. 

  • Driving: Requires volitional movement of a vehicle. (see: Mercer v DMV (1991) 53 C3d 753, 768, 280 CR 745.)
  • Vehicle: California Vehicle Code 670, defines a vehicle as, a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. Also refer to CVC section 400 motorcycles; CVC section 410 trucks; CVC section 406 mopeds; CVC section 557 snowmobiles; are all classified as "vehicles". In addition, CVC section 21200.5 bicycles; California Harbors and Navigation Code boats; California Public Utilities Code section 21407.1 aircraft; and Ca Vehicle Code section 21050 horses and other beasts; may constitute vehicles for purposes of a DUI. 
  • Under the Influence: A person is under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or drug or combined influence of such when their physical or mental abilities are so impaired that he or she no longer has the ability to drive a vehicle as a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances. (see: People v Canty (2004) 32 C4th 1266, 1278, 14 CR3d.) You may also be found per se under the influence. If the evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that at the time of a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine, there was 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in your blood. The jury or judge may but need not, conclude that you were under the influence of an alcoholic beverage at the time of alleged offense. 
  • Alcoholic Beverage: As defined in California Vehicle Code section 109: Alcoholic beverage” includes any liquid or solid material intended to be ingested by a person which contains ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, drinking alcohol, or alcohol, including, but not limited to, alcoholic beverages as defined in Section 23004 of the Business and Professions Code, intoxicating liquor, malt beverage, beer, wine, spirits, liqueur, whiskey, rum, vodka, cordials, gin, and brandy, and any mixture containing one or more alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverage includes a mixture of one or more alcoholic beverages whether found or ingested separately or as a mixture.
  • Drug: As defined in California Vehicle Code section 312: The term “drug” means any substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, which could so affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person as to impair, to an appreciable degree, his ability to drive a vehicle in the manner that an ordinarily prudent and cautious man, in full possession of his faculties, using reasonable care, would drive a similar vehicle under like conditions.
If you were also charged with a violation of California Vehicle Code section 23152(b). In order for the district attorney to convict you it must be proven that you drove a vehicle while having the requisite blood alcohol level. Your blood alcohol level is proven by the chemical test administered, a blood test, breath test or urine test. 

If you were charged with a DUI crime it is important to contact an attorney. By contacting my office we can help you understand whether the prosecution has the evidence they need to prove all the elements to convict you. Call us today for a free consultation.