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California DUI defense attorneysAlthough there have been national efforts in the past few decades to prevent drunk driving, it still occurs on our country’s roadways. Alcoholic beverages and controlled substances significantly impair a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Studies have shown that driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can be deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, there were 3,602 fatalities on the state’s roads and 37 percent of those deaths were alcohol-related. 

Thousands of motorists are arrested for DUI every year in the state of California. However, some of these arrests are made erroneously due to faulty testing equipment or mistakes made by police. If you are a California driver, it is important to know the laws and your options regarding DUI in case you are ever charged with this crime.    

California Drunk Driving Laws 

In California, the legal limit is .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). The penalties for DUI in California vary depending on if it is a driver’s first offense or if he or she has had multiple convictions. For some, the punishments can involve fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges, or mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle.

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San Jose DUI defense lawyerWhen you are intoxicated and need to get home, it may seem like a good idea to put your car into autopilot mode and hop in. That did not work out so well for a California man who was pulled over by California Highway Patrol (CHP) after police observed him asleep behind the wheel. He was stopped and arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol after he failed field sobriety tests. The incident has brought up a conversation about the safety of autopilot features in vehicles and how they are able to be abused by consumers.

Sleeping Man is Pulled Over by California Highway Patrol

In the early morning hours of Nov. 30, CHP noticed a Tesla Model S going 70 mph down U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto. Upon further inspection, CHP gathered that the driver was unconscious behind the wheel, as there was no response from him when officers activated their lights and sirens. Hoping the driver assist feature was activated on the vehicle, police closed the highway off and successfully slowed down the vehicle by driving in front of it until it came to a complete stop. When officers tapped on the window, the driver woke up and was subjected to field sobriety tests -- which he failed. The driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Safety of Tesla Autopilot Feature is Questioned

Because the man was able to fall asleep at the wheel without the car realizing it, the safety of this feature is now being questioned by many. It has not yet been confirmed if the driver assist feature was actually activated during the ordeal, but because of the vehicle staying in its lane during its trip and responding to vehicles around it, it is assumed that the feature was activated. Some have pointed out that other vehicles with similar autopilot features have safety mechanisms in place to prevent situations like this.

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