Vehicle Code Crimes
California regulates criminal activity under various code categories. Most criminal violations fall under the penal codes. However, people may be surprised that vehicle code violations can lead not only to a traffic fine, but can include serious jail time and other criminal sanctions. Vehicle codes generally apply to anything involving motor vehicles and driving, including drunk driving, evading a police officer, driving without a license, hit and run, altering VIN numbers, and more.
One of the most common ways a driver can find himself in violation of a vehicle code crime relates to drinking and driving. A driver can be arrested and charged with a DUI if they are over the legal limit, drinking and driving while under 21, driving under the influence of drugs, or being involved in a DUI causing injury or death. Drivers can even be arrested for a DUI when their blood alcohol concentration is under the legal limit.
Driving Under the Influence
Under Vehicle Code § 23152, it is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle. Having a blood alcohol level of 0.08% BAC or higher, for most drivers, is a per se DUI violation. However, in some cases, the police may arrest a driver and charge them with a DUI even if their BAC is under 0.08%. The penalties for a DUI can include jail time, fines, mandatory DUI School, an ignition interlock device, probation, and an administrative license suspension.
California has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. Under Vehicle Code § 23136, it is unlawful for any person under 21-years-old to drive with a BAC of 0.01% or higher. There are additional penalties if the underage driver has a BAC of 0.05% or higher. If they have a BAC of 0.08% or higher, they can be charged with a traditional DUI.
Commercial drivers are held to a higher standard for sober driving than other drivers. Under Vehicle Code § 23152(d), it is unlawful for a commercial driver to drive with a BAC of 0.04% or higher. Penalties include suspension of their commercial driver’s license (CDL). A subsequent DUI can lead to a permanent loss of your CDL.
DUI Involving Injury or Death
Under Vehicle Code § 23153, a driver can face serious penalties if they are involved in a DUI that results in bodily injury to another person, including the other driver, a pedestrian or a passenger in the driver’s own vehicle. A DUI with injury can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, with the penalties including four or more years in prison.
Other Vehicle Code Violations
Not all vehicle code crimes involve DUIs. Other vehicle codes regulate how people drive, and what they do with their vehicles as well as and vehicles belonging to other people.
Driving on a Suspended License
Driving without a license, or driving on a suspended license may not seem that serious to some people, but they are violations under the vehicle code that carry significant penalties. Under Vehicle Code § 14601, driving on a suspended license can lead to fines, possible jail time, and a further extension of the period of suspension.
Evading a Police Officer
If you see a police car flashing their lights behind you, the law says you need to pull over. Evading a police officer under Vehicle Code § 2800.1 can result in up to a year in jail or a fine. Evading an officer that leads to bodily injury or death of another can be charged as a felony.
Hit and Run
Many people don’t know what to do after they are involved in an accident. Whether nicking a parked car, or being involved in a serious accident, some people are so worried about what might happen that they leave the scene. However, a hit and run can be a serious charge under Vehicle Code § 20002. Penalties can lead to fines and jail time, in addition to having to pay for any damages or injuries.
Defenses to Vehicle Code Violations
If you have been charged with a Vehicle Code violation in California, you should consider contacting an experienced Kavinoky Law Firm criminal defense attorney in San Diego and 10 other locations. Driving violation crimes can be involve serious penalties, including jail time and the loss of driving privileges. Your California vehicle code defense lawyer will fight to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed, so you can keep your license. Contact an experienced California crime attorney who will stand by your side so you don’t have to face the judge and prosecutor alone.