Driving While On DUI Probation – California Vehicle Code Section 23154

This Vehicle Code Section has to do with people who are on DUI probation in Los Angeles County who get pulled over by the police and part of the terms and conditions of their probation is they cannot have any measurable amount of alcohol in their system.

A lot of times the police can look in their computer in their vehicle and see that someone is on probation for a DUI, they pull them over and have them blow into a preliminary alcohol screen device, and if they blow a .01 or greater — meaning they have some alcohol in their system, they can then write them a ticket for this Vehicle Code Section 23154, which basically says that a person may be found in violation of this Section if the time of their driving while their on probation for a violation of Vehicle Code Section 23152 or 23153, which is the felony DUI, and the trier of fact is able to determine that they consumed an alcoholic beverage and were driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .01% or greater as measured by the preliminary alcohol screening device.

Terms of DUI Probation

Part of the terms of this are that the testing shall be instant to a lawful detention and administered at the direction of a police officer having reasonable cause to believe the person is driving a motor vehicle in violation of subdivision (a).

So, basically what that’s saying is, people can’t just pull people over for any reason, just because they want to see if they have any alcohol in their system.

They have to have a lawful reason for pulling them over — some sort of a traffic offense — tinting windows, illegal turn, speeding — and then if they smell alcohol on them and it looks like the person has been drinking, and then they’re able to determine that they’re on probation for a DUI, then the police officer can have them blow into a preliminary alcohol screening device which most of the officers carry in their car, and if it registers anything a .01 or greater, then the person is going to be cited for this Vehicle Code Section 23154.

Driver’s License Suspension

They’ll probably be cited in with a ticket to the local court in that jurisdiction.  The worse thing is, their license will probably be snatched away from them and sent to the DMV and the DMV is going to be notified and they have a chance they’ll lose their driver’s license.

The next element in order to prove this Vehicle Section, the person shall be told that his or her failure to submit to or failure to complete a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test as requested, will result in the suspension or revocation of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of one to three years as provided for in California Vehicle Code Section 133353.1.

So, what this is indicating is, if you fail or refuse to take the preliminary alcohol screening test, they can suspend your license for a minimum of a year, and the police officer has to tell you that.

Failing to Take DUI Breath Test

When they say failed to take the test, a lot of people will try to blow in the PBT and they won’t blow hard enough and intentionally try to beat the test by not blowing hard enough into the machine.

This, if it is determined is happening, can put them in a position where they end up with the violation, losing their license for a year or more, and a lot of times the officers will then take them to the hospital or police station where they can draw their blood in order to prove that their either a DUI or they have violated this Vehicle Code Section 23154.

Consult with Experienced DUI lawyer for Help

As you can see from this Code Section, they take DUI’s in Los Angles County very seriously and if a person gets charged with this Code Section, they definitely want to get an attorney who is seasoned, local, knows how to deal with these DUI’s, knows how to deal with the DMV and knows what it takes to get you the best possible result if you’re facing a DUI case or if you’re facing a violation of Vehicle Code Section 23154 which basically is offenses involving alcohol and drugs when you’re on probation for a DUI.

Hedding Law Firm
633 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

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Why Is A Wet Reckless Better Than A DUI?

When it comes to DUI’s I hear a lot of people talking about wet reckless.  They’re not necessarily that much better than a DUI, although if I had my choice between a DUI and a wet reckless, obviously I would pick a wet reckless.  But there’s other charges that are better than a wet reckless.  For example, a dry reckless is much better because it doesn’t involve alcohol, there’s less punishment, it doesn’t trigger a number of things and it’s not priorable.

Priorability has to do with getting a wet reckless and then in the future you get another DUI within ten years, then it would count as a second-time DUI.  So, that makes the wet reckless priorable and obviously, that’s not something  you want to have on your record.  Insurance companies will not look favorably on you if you have a wet reckless on your record.  It’s probably going to cause your insurance rate to go up.

Dry Reckless & Speed Contest

In my opinion, although a wet reckless is definitely better than a DUI — and I would rather have that on my record than a DUI in Los Angeles — there are still other charges related to DUI’s that you’d rather have on your record than a wet reckless.  In addition to a dry reckless, a speed contest would be a much better charge in Los Angeles than a wet reckless.

Then the next question is, if you’re not able to get a dry reckless or speed contest or something less than a DUI, how could you get a wet reckless?

Factor of Having a  Prior Criminal Record

What it really boils down to — the factors that I’ve seen in practicing DUI defense over the course of the last twenty-five years is — whether you have any prior criminal record involving bad driving or any record that involves a DUI.

If you do, it’s going to make it a lot more difficult to get a wet reckless.  On the other hand, if you have a clean record and your blood alcohol level was close to the legal limit, then you’re in a much stronger position to argue for a wet reckless.

The range, in general — because it varies depending on a bunch  of different factors — but being a .10, .11, .12 and not having any record and not doing anything egregious during your stop for a DUI, puts you in a much stronger position to be able to argue for a wet reckless.

Punishment for Wet Reckless

The next question that we probably see when we deal with these types of offenses is, what are the punishments related to wet reckless’ in Los Angeles.  Basically, if you are convicted of a wet reckless, the punishment is negotiable, meaning the prosecutors can offer whatever they want.

Sometimes they say, we gave you something better than a DUI and therefore, we are not going to change the punishment.  You’re still going to do a fine that’s $390 plus penalty assessment.  You’re still going to do the three-month alcohol program.

You’re still going to be on probation for three years, but we will give you that wet reckless so your record looks a little bit better than if you got a full-fledged DUI in Los Angeles County.

So, that is one thing that the prosecutors can do when it comes to a wet reckless conviction.  Another thing is they can give you a smaller fine.  Instead of $390 plus penalty assessment — which works its way out to about $2,000, they could give you $240 plus penalty assessment which saves you a significant amount of money once they tack that 200% penalty assessment on you related to your DUI matter.

So, one area they could help you is with the fine.  They could also put you on less probation.  For example, they could put you on a two year or one year probation if the prosecutors were so inclined.  That would obviously be better than the typical three to five year probation that comes along with a first-time DUI.

Typically, you’re not going to get jail time on a first-time DUI in Los Angeles.  But, if it’s a second-time DUI, you are going to get mandatory jail time.  You could avoid that jail time by getting wet reckless.  That’s probably one of the biggest benefits that I see that a wet reckless gives you in Los Angeles — is avoiding jail time for a second offense.

Avoiding Alcohol Program

So, that’s one area that you can save as far as a wet reckless goes.  Also, you could sometimes avoid having to do the alcohol program when it comes to a wet reckless conviction.  The only time you’ll need to do the alcohol program is if you want to get your driver’s license back.  Then you’ll have to do it — even if you get a wet reckless and no license suspension.

Consult With Our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers

So, the bottom line is, if you have a situation where you’re arrested for a DUI and you need some help.  Give me call.  We’ll sit down and strategize how to get you the lowest possible resolution.  If a dismissal is in the cards for you, we’ll try to get that.  If not, we’ll try to get you something lower than a first-offense DUI in Los Angeles, and if the wet reckless is the right thing to get based on your circumstances, that’s what we will shoot for.

Hedding Law Firm
Los Angeles DUI Lawyers
633 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Related Resources:
How can I get my DUI reduced to reckless driving?
DUI Reportability Requirements