Vehicle Code 23152(e): DUI Law For Uber, Lyft, Taxi & Limo Drivers

California Vehicle Code 23152(e) which commenced on July 1st 2018, makes it a crime to drive with .04 or more blood alcohol concentration when a passenger for hire is a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense1. Below our DUI attorneys explain the defenses, penalties and frequently asked questions about this law.

Overview Of Vehicle Code 23152(e) VC

Taxi, limo, or ride-share drivers such as Uber or Lyft drivers, are now subject to arrest for DUI if your BAC is 0.04%2, the same as that for a commercial driver under VC 23152(d)3.

To be convicted under California Vehicle Code § 23152(e) VC, the prosecutor need only prove:

  1. You were driving a motor vehicle and,
  2. While driving, your BAC was .04 by weight or volume.

The proof that the prosecution must offer, however, must satisfy the following standard of what is considered impairment: 

“Any substance or any combination of substances, other than alcohol, which could so affect the driver’s nervous system, brain, or muscles so as to impair (to an appreciable degree) his/her ability to drive a vehicle in the manner that an ordinarily prudent and cautious person, in full possession of his/her faculties, using reasonable care, would drive a similar vehicle under like conditions”. CALJIC 16.830 — Misdemeanor Driving Under the Influence.

Penalties For VC 23152(e)

A conviction under vehicle xode section 23152(e) vc, is a misdemeanor for your first, second and third offenses within a 10-year period. A fourth conviction within this time frame can be charged as a felony. Penalties for these convictions typically consist of:

1st Offense
  • Fine of $390 to $1,000
  • Jail time of up to 6-months but typically 48 hours
  • Or community service in lieu of jail
  • If testing was refused, mandatory 48-hours in jail
  • Probation of 3 to 5 years
  • License suspension of at least 6-months or one year if you refused testing
  • Minimum of 3-months attendance at a drug education class (a minimum of 9-months if testing was refused)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock system for 12-months and up to 3-years
2nd Offense 
  • Mandatory jail time of 96-hours and up to 12-months in jail
  • An additional 96-hours if testing was refused
  • Fine of $390 to $1,000
  • Probation of 3-5 years
  • License suspension of 2-years
  • Installation of an ignition interlock system for 12-months 
  • Attendance at drug classes for 18-months to 30-months
3rd Offense
  • Mandatory jail time of 120-days and up to 12-months in jail
  • An additional 10-days in jail if testing was refused
  • Fine of $390 to $1,000
  • 3-year suspension of your driver’s license
  • Probation of 3-5 years
  • Attendance at drug classes for 18-months up to 30-months
  • Installation of an ignition interlock system for 24-months 
  • Designation as a habitual traffic offender
4th Offense (Felony)
  • State prison time of 16-months, 2 or 3 years
  • An additional 18-days in jail for test refusal
  • Fine of $390 to $5000
  • License revocation of 4-years (have to re-apply for a new license)
  • Attendance at drug classes for 18-months to 30-months
  • Installation of an ignition interlock system for 48-months if license is approved
  • Designation as a habitual traffic offender
DUI with Injury (Misdemeanor)
  • Jail time of 5-days to 12-months
  • Fine of $390 to $1,000
  • License suspension of 1-3 years
  • Probation for 3-5 years
  • Attendance at DUI classes for 3, 18 or 30-months
DUI with Injury (Felony)
  • State prison time of 16-months to 10-years with additional consecutive time of 1-6 years depending on number of people injured and severity of injuries
  • Fine of $1,050 to $5000
  • Drug program for 18 to 30-months
  • Possible “strike” on criminal record
  • Restitution to injured parties 
VC 23152(e) Penalty Enhancements

Your penalties will be enhanced or increased for any of conviction if any of the following aggravating circumstances have occurred:

License-Suspension & DMV Process

An administrative suspension can occur within 30-days of your arrest regardless of your criminal disposition if you do not contest the suspension.

If you do receive an administrative suspension, which may be identical to whatever the court imposes if you are convicted, you face:

1st Offense
  • 4-month administrative suspension of license
  • 1-year suspension if you refused a blood or other chemical test
  • If the court imposed a 6-month suspension, your suspension will be 6-months
  • Eligible for a restricted driver’s license after 30-days of your suspension after you show proof of installation of an ignition interlock system
  • No restricted license if you refused a blood test
2nd Offense
  • 1-year administrative suspension of license
  • Suspension increases to 2-years if convicted in criminal court of DUID
  • An additional year of suspension if you refused a blood or other chemical test
  • Eligible for a restricted license after 90-days and show proof of installation of an ignition interlock system
  • No restricted license if you refused a blood or other chemical test
3rd Offense
  • 1-year suspension of license
  • Suspension is increased to 3-years if convicted in criminal court of DUID
  • An additional 2-years of suspension if you refused a blood or other chemical test
  • Eligible for a restricted license after 18-months and show proof of installation of an ignition interlock system, and completed the first 12-months of a drug program
  • No restricted license if you refused a blood or other chemical test
4th Offense
  • 4-year revocation of license 
  • Habitual traffic offender status for 3-years (severe penalties if caught driving without a license)
  • Not eligible for restricted license

A license revocation differs from a suspension. If suspended, you merely have to reinstate it once all conditions have been met and payment of fees are made. A revocation means that you must take all the steps to apply for a new license as if you never had one. Depending on your record and efforts at rehabilitation, the DMV has the discretion to not approve you for a license.  

Consequences Of Refusing A Chemical Test For Taxi, Limo Or Rideshare Drivers

For commercial drivers who refuse testing, their CDL or commercial driver’s license, will be suspended for one year for a first refusal. Of course, this extends to your driving any kind of motor vehicle. A second refusal will result in the permanent revocation of your commercial driver’s license4.

Taxi, Uber or Lyft Driver

Taxi and ride-sharing drivers do not need a CDL. Only limo drivers who operate vehicles that transport 16 or more passengers are required to have one. However, any DUI or DUID conviction will result in your being barred from driving for Lyft or Uber. 

As indicated, your refusal to submit to a blood or DUI breath test will result in increased penalties including a longer suspension period without being eligible for a restricted license along with increased jail time and fines. If you go to trial, the prosecution can argue that your refusal demonstrated a consciousness of guilt. If a DUI is the charge, the prosecutor can also claim that your refusal showed that your BAC would have been at least 0.04% if you had taken the test5.

Presumably, this argument would extend to a DUID where a drug is suspected, and the defendant refused testing, although the prosecutor could only argue that you refused testing because you knew it would reveal the presence of a drug. The prosecutor would have to argue that other factors in addition to this such as your driving conduct, demeanor, HGN test results, or other indicators confirmed that you were under the influence of a drug. 

VC 23152(e) Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can you drive for Uber or Lyft with a previous DUI conviction?

Answer: In California, you are not permitted to drive for Uber or Lyft if your prior DUI conviction was within the past 10-years. A DUI remains on your driving record for 10-years, so once it is removed it will not appear on a background check. However, if you have a felony DUI conviction, regardless of how long ago it was, neither company will allow you to drive for them.

Question: Will you lose your ability to drive for Uber if convicted of VC § 23152(e)?

Answer: If convicted of DUI under this vehicle code section, you will lose your ability to drive for Uber or Lyft. This conviction is no different than being convicted of a DUI, which is alcohol-related, or a wet reckless. 

Next Steps If You Need Help

If you have been arrested and would like to learn more about how attorneys charge.

If you want to understand why its important to have an attorney represent you.

If you have been areested under Vehicle Code 23152(e) VC and would like to discuss a pending case with an attorney contact the Aizman Law Firm at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.

Request A Free Consultation 818-351-9555 

Footnotes

  1. California Vehicle Code 23152(e) VC: “California’s DUI for taxi, limo or ride share drivers law” – Commencing July 1, 2018, it shall be unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a motor vehicle when a passenger for hire is a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense. For purposes of this subdivision, “passenger for hire” means a passenger for whom consideration is contributed or expected as a condition of carriage in the vehicle, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, operator, agent, or any other person having an interest in the vehicle. In a prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving. []
  2. California Vehicle Code § 23152(e) VC. []
  3. Vehicle Code § 23152 (d) VC; AB 2687 []
  4. VC § 15302; 49 CFR 383.51 []
  5. People v. Sudduth (1966) 65 Cal.2d 543, 547 []

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