Drunk Driving in Santa Rosa – The Facts

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

It’s a well known fact that when someone operates a vehicle while 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 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.
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 drunk drivers? The answer is simple. Alcohol affects every person differently, and a person’s blood alcohol level is dependent on a variety of factors. 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 Zinfandel wine at dinner and while driving home is pulled over by police because she is slightly swerving. During the sobriety test, our petite women cannot walk in a straight line, she cannot stand on one foot and she definitely cannot say the ABC’s backwards. The officer also has our petite woman conduct 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 gentleman who is slightly overweight due to the fact that he 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, our gentleman 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 had our slightly overweight gentleman conduct a sobriety test, and due to his high tolerance, he 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 drunk driving, both were appropriately charged.

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.

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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.

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The information on this website should not be considered to be legal advice, nor construed to be the formation of any manner of attorney client relationship. Prior to taking any form of legal action, please consult with an attorney experienced in the appropriate area of law germane to your situation. Case results and any blogs, reviews, news or testimonials presented on www.duibecklaw.com or any of its related websites are germane to the facts present for each individual case and is not a promise of similar outcomes for any other cases. This website is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of California. by Attorney Daniel B. Beck