DUI defense attorney Neil Shouse explains the California legal alcohol limits for rideshare, taxi, and limousine drivers, as well as the possible punishments and defenses for those who go to trial for this crime.
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California law regulates DUIs for rideshare drivers such as Uber and Lyft under Vehicle Code 23152e VC. This same statute also regulates taxi drivers and livery drivers such as limousines. These drivers are held to a higher standard than regular drivers who are not transporting passengers for employment. While the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) limit is .08% for most drivers, Uber, Lyft, taxi, and limo drivers cannot legally drive with a blood alcohol level of .04 or higher.
It’s important to note however, that the .04 limit only matters when rideshare drivers are transporting passengers for hire. So if an Uber driver clocks out for the night, goes to a bar and has a few drinks, picks up a friend who is not paying for the ride, then gets pulled over by police later that night for suspicion of DUI, even though the Uber driver had a passenger, the BAC legal limit for the Uber driver would be .08 in order to be convicted of a “per se” DUI. This is because the passenger was not paying for the ride, and the Uber driver was not working for hire at the time of the suspected DUI stop.
The punishments for a first time conviction of Vehicle Code 23152e VC are the same as a regular DUI. These punishments differ from county to county in the state of California, but in general the fine is about $2,000, there is a mandatory DUI school, a driver’s license suspension of 6 months, a possible interlock ignition device, and most counties allow probation instead of jail time, but some California counties require a few days in jail and/or a work release program.
Just because you have been arrested for a DUI, doesn’t mean you are guilty, however. And there are many defenses to this crime that an experienced DUI defense attorney can implement to help their client get the charges reduced or dismissed, keep their job, and keep their driver’s license.
If you or a loved one is charged with a crime we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.
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