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Under the Influence – Driving Impaired

JURY INSTRUCTIONS:Special Instructions

“Under the Influence” is defined as Driving Ability Impaired to an Appreciable Degree

People v. Canty (2002) 100 Cal.App.4th 903, Byrd v. Municipal Court (1981), 125 Cal.App.3d 1054, 1058, relying on People v. Haeussler (1953) 41 Cal.2d 252; Modification of CALJIC No. 16.830 (6th ed. 1996).

“Under the influence” is defined as when the liquor has so far affected the nervous system, the brain, or muscles so as to impair to an appreciable degree the ability to operate a vehicle in a manner like that of an ordinary prudent and cautious person in full possession of his faculties.”

This instruction requests the court to further define “under the influence,” i.e. to demonstrate that it is not any impairment that violates the law, but the impairment has to be a degree that is appreciable. The state and prosecutors like to use the word “impaired” or “impairment” as opposed to impairment of such a degree that it affects the ability to drive. The special instruction above tries to clarify the law for the benefit of the defendant at a jury trial.