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Driving with 0.04 Percent Blood Alcohol Causing Injury With a Passenger for Hire

Most people are aware of the general DUI limit of 0.08% blood-alcohol content. But you can also be charged if your blood alcohol content is 0.04% or greater, you have a passenger for hire, and you cause a bodily injury. Learn everything you need to know about these charges and how you might defend yourself here.

Being Charged with Driving with 0.04 Percent Blood Alcohol and Causing Injury With a Passenger for Hire

While 0.08% is the California legal limit for automatic DUI charges, having a blood-alcohol content of 0.04% while driving another person and injuring someone is still technically a violation of California Vehicle Code 23153(e). It essentially stipulates that even half the amount of the legal limit of alcohol while driving under the influence can still be enough to sufficiently influence your behavior or decisions and result in serious harm to another person.

To prove that you're guilty of this crime, the prosecution must show that:

  • You were driving a vehicle
  • Your blood-alcohol content was indeed 0.04% or more by bodyweight
  • You drove and committed an illegal act – in this context, it can be something like ignoring the rules of the road or right-of-way
  • You had a “passenger for hire” – this is anyone who paid or expected to pay for a ride in your vehicle. An easy example is an Uber driver, who may have a passenger for hire during an accident
  • Your illegal action directly caused the bodily injury of another person

Since there's a lot to prove, and drug tests can be unreliable, California criminal defense counsel can help you with several different defense strategies.

Penalties for These Charges

California's penalties for any type of DUI accident that causes an injury are severe, whether you're charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.

Misdemeanor penalties can include:

  • Between five days and one year in county jail
  • Probation for between three and five years
  • Between $390 and $5000 in fines
  • A three, nine, 18, or 30-month court-approved alcohol education program
  • A suspension of your California driver's license for between one and three years
  • Possible restitution or damages

Felony penalties can include:

  • Up to two, three, or four years in California state prison
  • Another 3 to 6-year prison sentence if a victim severs a severe or great bodily injury
  • A “strike” on your record, which counts toward California's Three Strikes Law
  • Between $1000 and $5000 in fines
  • DUI school for between 18 or 30 months
  • Revocation of your driver's license for five years

Defenses for These Charges

There are multiple defense strategies you and your defense counsel can employ to avoid a conviction.

Passenger's Distraction

If you were driving and had a passenger for hire, it's possible that the passenger themselves caused the accident, even if you had a blood-alcohol content of 0.04%. This could possibly acquit you since your actions did not directly lead to the injuries sustained by another person.

Exacerbating Factors

Factors like wind, rain, or other inclement weather can affect whether or not an accident occurs. Your defense counsel may point this out and show that the accident was unavoidable from your perspective, no matter who was driving.

Contact a California Criminal Defense Attorney Today

The law offices of Peter James Chambers are your best bet to avoid a conviction and help you return to the road and your life! Contact us today and we'll get started on your case ASAP with a free consultation.

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“One who sits in judgment of another should feel as though the sword is pointed at their own heart.”

— THE TALMUD —

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