DUI Punishment – Can a Defendant Be Sentenced for Both (a) and (b) count of 23152?

July 18, 2013

Most DUI prosecutions in Los Angeles start with a DUI arrest when the arrested person is often cited for California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) or for both California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) and California Vehicle Code section 23152(b).   If a driver is not cited for CVC 23152(b), his blood alcohol concentration is either below 0.08% or is not available, such is the case with blood tests or refusals to submit to a chemical test.

If and when the results become available, the prosecutor will likely charge both a California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) and a California Vehicle Code section 23152(b).  In a case that proceeds to trial, the prosecutor will attempt to prove that the defendant is guilty of two separate crimes, each with separate elements.  Yet, although some multiple charges can increase punishment in case of a conviction; that is not the case when with a DUI, as long as it describes the same conduct.

California Penal Code section 654 explains:  “An act or omission that is punishable in different ways by different provisions of law shall be punished under the provision that provides for the longest potential term of imprisonment, but in no case shall the act or omission be punished under more than one provision.” 

In the context of a DUI prosecution, PC 654 prevents punishment for both CVC 23152(a) and CVC 23152(b) because the act is the same – “driving while impaired”.  The fact that a person is guilty of two separate crimes for the same act prohibits multiple punishment and although a person convicted of both count is guilty of both counts, punishment for the second count have to be stayed pursuant to CPC 654.

To talk to Los Angeles DUI attorney please call directly (323) 464-6424 or toll free at (877) 940-4440.

 

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