The most recent stay-at-home orders in Alameda County went into effect on December 7. Some businesses can now reopen, including outdoor dining, bars, wineries, and breweries. Many people are excited to get back out and meet up with friends over a few drinks. However, police in the East Bay will still be on the lookout for drivers who might be impaired, especially after leaving a bar.
Higher Tolerance Doesn't Lower Blood-Alcohol
Over the past year, people's drinking habits may have changed. With bars and restaurants closed off-and-on since March 2020, some people may have increased their drinking tolerance because they are drinking more at home. However, a higher tolerance does not change the individual's blood alcohol level.
Even if you think you can handle more drinks and still feel fine, the alcohol will still be absorbed by the body, increasing your blood alcohol content (BAC). A per se DUI does not have to do with your driving ability. You can get a DUI just by having a BAC of 0.08% or higher (with lower limits for under-21 drivers and commercial drivers).
Under California Vehicle Code 23152(b), a driver can be convicted of a DUI with a defendant's blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more by weight. Even if the driver feels totally sober, a blood or breath test that shows 0.08% or higher will generally lead to criminal charges.
Visiting a Winery or Brewery
On January 25, 2021, the regional stay at home order was lifted for Alameda County. Restaurants, wineries, and tasting rooms can resume outdoors, with modifications. Getting out to visit a winery for tastings can be a good option for people who want to have a couple of drinks outside with enough space to stay away from crowds.
How many drinks will put you over the legal limit? The rule of thumb is that it takes about an hour for the body to metabolize one alcoholic beverage based on a drink equaling a 5 oz glass of wine at 12% alcohol. At that rate, for example, a 220-pound male may be over the limit after 3 drinks and a 160-pound female may be over the limit after 2 drinks. However, not all drinks are equal.
When visiting a winery, you may be drinking 4 or more wine tasting pours of 2 ounces or more. If you also have a glass of your favorite at the end of the tasting, that could be enough to put you over the legal limit.
If you do plan to go out to a winery, make sure you have a designated driver or limit your wine intake to a safe limit. Unfortunately, some people end up having just a little too much, which can be a problem if they are pulled over for a traffic violation.
Rolling through a stop sign, speeding, or even a broken tail light may be enough to justify a traffic stop. During the traffic stop, if the officer smells alcohol or sees that you purchased some wine from a local winery may lead to questions about whether you were drinking.
If you lie and say you were not drinking, the officer may suspect you are not telling the truth and are impaired. If you say yes, the officer will know you drank alcohol and could be impaired. You can stay silent and you have the right to do so but you may still end up under arrest.
If you are arrested for drunk driving in the East Bay, contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can act fast to protect your driver's license and build a strong defense to keep your record clear.
Help After an East Bay DUI Arrest
A DUI after the first time you've ventured out in months is the last thing you need. Lynn Gorelick has helped many drivers in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties avoid a criminal conviction after a DUI arrest. Contact the local criminal defense lawyer who understands that you do not have to put your license at risk just because you were arrested.