Multiple Violations: Can You Face More Than One Charge, Such as Reckless Driving and DUI?
Interviewer: I’m going to assume then that the cases that are related to reckless driving under the influence would be more of the ones that you handle. What are the penalties if they’re ticketed together? Reckless driving, I automatically assume, falls under DUI?
Attorney Bortel Feels That the Police Mistakenly Attribute Reckless Driving to Alcohol Consumption
Aaron: There are a number of reasons why people could be driving recklessly or what looks like reckless in the eyes of the police officer who pulls them over. It’s not always because of drugs or alcohol.
Texting While Driving Has Been Shown to Be Six Times More Dangerous Than Driving under the Influence
In fact, I just saw a statistic recently that said texting while driving is six times more dangerous than being under the influence. The big difference there is when you’re texting while you’re driving, usually people have the phone down in their laps or down on the console.
They don’t have the phone up in the air while they’re texting because they don’t want an officer to see them doing that. Actually, if you were going to text and drive, although I can’t advise it and it’s against the law, the safest way to do it is having the phone up next to the wheel so that you can at least have your eyes on the level of the road and look forward. Think about it. When you’re driving and texting, you are taking your eyes off the road.
Someone who’s a drunk driver would have a much better chance of avoiding a serious accident if their eyes are on the road versus someone texting who’s looking down and has no chance of avoiding an accident.
It’s getting a lot more notoriety. I’ve seen a number of ads where there have just portrayed brutal fatalities. They do show pretty graphic pictures in these ads; trying to teach people how dangerous it is to text and drive.
Interviewer: I completely agree with that. A perfect case example would be the woman that made the news this week for landing in the lake because she was texting.
Aaron: I didn’t see that one but I think there are incidents like that happening every day all around the world.
Attorney Bortel Has Encountered Many Other Reasons That Cause Erratic or Reckless Driving, Such as Experiencing a Medical Problem or Being Distracted
Other reasons why people could be driving in the officer’s eyes recklessly are maybe they’re having some medical problem or distracted driving. It doesn’t have to be just texting. They could be eating, looking at the children in the back seat or just changing the radio station.
A lot of factors can cause the reckless driving. Every case is different. If the officer thinks you’re under the influence, they’re going to arrest you for DUI. If they can show that you’re .08 or higher, they will arrest you for DUI.
California Has Two Different Charges for DUI
If your driving is horrible, sometimes they’ll add on a reckless driving charge. I do think in most cases they won’t charge. They’ll just charge DUI. The reckless driving will just help show the impairment because in California there are two different charges that they have for DUI.
One is impaired driving. That’s the Vehicle Code Section 23152A. The issue is were you driving with the care and caution of a sober person? They look at your driving pattern, your demeanor, your field sobriety test and your objective symptoms of intoxication.
Per Se, 23152A and 23152B Charges
Then there’s the per se, which is when DMV looks at if were you at or over .08 at the time of driving. For the criminal court, that’s the Vehicle Code Section 23152B charge. Usually when someone gets arrested for a DUI and there’s a breath or blood test which comes back at .08 or greater, they will be charged with both of the 23152A and 23152B charge.
If someone just gets arrested for the impairment, they refuse to do a chemical test and the police officers do not do a forced blood draw, then they’re just going to be able to charge them with the 23152A charge, not the B charge because they don’t have that number.
It May Better Not to Refuse the Chemical Tests; a Refusal Results in an Automatic Year of Suspension
The problem is if you refuse to do that test as we mentioned before, you’re looking at losing your license for a full year. That’s a much greater penalty than if you did take the chemical test and it was found to be over the limit by the DMV because then the worst case scenario, not always but usually, is a one license month suspension.
By Aaron Bortel
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