Driving Under the Influence

DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (DUI) / DRUNK DRIVING / 502‘S

*** IF YOU ARE ARRESTED FOR A DUI, YOU OR YOUR ATTORNEY MUST REQUEST A DMV HEARING WITHIN 10 CALENDAR DAYS TO PLACE THE SUSPENSION ON HOLD AND GET A LICENSE HEARING.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI), is also sometimes incorrectly called drunk driving or a 502. The term "drunk driving" is incorrect, because under the law of California and most other states, a person does have to be "drunk" in order to be guilty. The term "502" is also incorrect, as it refers to the vehicle code section that was used for Driving Under the Influence many years ago in California. The proper terms and code sections are discussed below, along with an explanation of their elements.

Driving Under the Influence can involve the use of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of the two. The drugs can be illegal drugs, or even legal medications. The basic principle is that it is illegal for a person to drive a motor vehicle in California if their ability to safely operate that vehicle is impaired to a significant degree by any substance, legal or illegal. Moreover, contrary to the belief of most lay people, a person can be legally under the influence of alcohol, even at levels below .08. This is discussed further below.

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