Drinking Alcohol While Driving
Much like there are warnings on certain prescription medications that while under the influence of the medicine you cannot operate heavy machinery, the same can be said of alcohol consumption. Alcohol impairs one’s senses and inhibits the rational decision making of an individual. Therefore, driving a vehicle while intoxicated can result in deadly consequences for not just the driver, but also for those sharing the road.
The state of California has made an effort to combat drunk driving by instituting driving under the influence (DUI) laws. These are complex laws aimed at punishing those who have been caught driving with a certain blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and drugs in their system at the time of arrest. There are different penalties based on the concentration of alcohol and/or drugs, age of the driver, previous convictions, and type of vehicle operated/driving license.
Punishments For Driving Under The Influence Of Alcohol
In California, California Vehicle Code 23152a VC — Driving Under the Influence is the most fundamental DUI law. It specifies that operating a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an illegal act. Moreover, it defines drugs as all intoxicating substances, which includes both illegal and legal drug use.
When it comes to alcohol consumption, there are set BACs that are illegal while driving a vehicle. If you are younger than 21 years old, it is 0.01% or higher. For those operating a commercial vehicle, it is 0.04% or higher and for individuals older than 21 and/or operating a regular vehicle it is 0.08% or higher. As mentioned previously, being under the influence of drugs is also illegal. These drugs cannot include excessive amounts in them, and can include both over-the-counter and prescription medication.
Punishment can range from classifications such as first offense misdemeanor to a felony DUI, which can lead to serving three years in a state prison. The punishment varies because of a multitude of factors. Those with previous convictions and higher BACs often receive harsher punishment. Furthermore, the individual’s license can be suspended for a period of time or permanently revoked.
What To Do If You Have Consumed Alcohol?
If you have consumed any form of alcohol or drugs, do not drive a vehicle. This precaution is not only important for your own bodily safety, but also for others on the road. Drinking and driving places everyone in danger.