With the approach of spring, the days get longer and people in the East Bay look forward to getting out of town on the weekend. Living just an hour away from wine country makes Sonoma and Napa the perfect getaway for East Bay residents. Living so close also makes it tempting to make wine country a day trip but driving home after wine tasting can be trouble when police are patrolling for impaired drivers.
If you can, make sure you have a designated driver when you go wine tasting but if you do end up under arrest, it is important to contact an experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer to avoid losing your license. Call experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick after an arrest to keep a DUI off your record.
Springtime Events in Wine Country
Many vineyards and tasting rooms in California wine country are only about an hour away from Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, and other cities in the East Bay. This makes for an easy weekend trip without having to do much planning. You can just get in the car in the morning and hit the road. By lunchtime, you are in the rolling hills of grape vines in Sonoma County or Napa County.
Napa and Sonoma have a lot of events in March and April. The mild weather and shoulder season brings in a lot of East Bay locals for day trips or weekend getaways. April is Sonoma County Wine Month, hosted by the Sonoma County Vintners, representing more than 400 wineries. Visitors can do wine tastings, take guided wine tours, or go all in on a Sonoma County Tasting Pass, sampling wines from more than 2 dozen area wineries.
For more active getaways, the Napa Valley Marathon and Women's Half Marathon are scheduled for March. There are plenty of tasting events surrounding the marathon dates to give runners (and their supporters) a reason to cheer after the run.
Getting Home to the East Bay After a Wine Country Drive
Sipping small servings of wine can be deceptive. The tasting rooms may only be pouring one-ounce tasters but those 1 oz. servings can add up if you are visiting more than one tasting room. Five one-ounce pours add up to a glass of wine and some wineries are heavier with their pours than others. It can be difficult to estimate how many drinks you've had when wine tasting in Sonoma and Napa.
If you don't get a hotel in the area, you will have to drive home back to the East Bay. Be careful if you're on the edge of the legal limit. Drivers can be charged with a per se DUI if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Police officers in Napa and Sonoma are well aware that there are easy targets for drunk driving arrests on the weekends.
If you manage to drive back to Alameda County or Contra Costa County after visiting wine country, the police are still patrolling for impaired drivers. Especially on the weekends, Oakland police and Alameda County sheriff's officers are looking for drivers to pull over on suspicion of drunk driving. Even if you are almost home and just barely over the limit, you can face serious penalties for driving under the influence in California.
Pulled Over by Police In Oakland?
If you end up under arrest for a DUI after wine tasting in California, it is important to talk to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You only have 10 days to request a DMV hearing after a DUI arrest in California. If you don't request a DMV hearing, your license will be suspended and you won't be able to drive.
Talk to an East Bay DUI defense lawyer who can represent you in your criminal case and the DMV hearing, so you can keep your license and avoid a drunk driving conviction on your record. Call attorney Lynn Gorelick at 510-785-1444 or 925-847-3006.