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How can you safely visit Napa vineyards?

Napa Valley is home to some of the country’s greatest vineyards. Within its 789 square miles, Napa boasts approximately 400 wineries with tasting rooms. This is a remarkable opportunity for a wine connoisseur looking to discover great wines.

One of Napa’s greatest challenges is navigation. How can you safely travel between several wine tastings without risking a DUI charge?

Calculating BAC

Under California law, it is illegal to operate a passenger vehicle if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher.

Knowing your BAC can be more complicated that you think. A number of factors, other than the number of drinks you consume, affect your BAC. Some of the factors include:

  • Gender
  • Fat/muscle ratio
  • Body type
  • Metabolism
  • Emotional state
  • Food type and amount eaten that day
  • Tiredness
  • Medication
  • Carbonation
  • Rate of drink consumption
  • The alcohol content of your drink

As you can see, you can easily misestimate your BAC. Even if you drink the same amount of alcohol on two separate occasions, your actual BAC may not be the same based on the other choices that you made each day.

DUI Penalties

You never want to be in a position where you are unsure whether or not you should get behind a wheel. The consequences in California for a DUI offense are severe, and will stay with you for a long time.

A first offence will immediately suspend your license for at least 4 months. You can spend up to 6 months in jail, charged up to $1,000 in fines, a $125 license re-issue fee, a SR-22 filing and be forced to attend a DUI program. Any subsequent offenses will result in longer jail time and higher fines.

Avoiding a DUI

If you plan on spending a day touring vineyards, be smart about your choices. Consider hiring a driver to take you to each vineyard. Select a designated driver who is willing to refrain from wine tasting to drive the rest of the group. The Napa Valley Wine Train is another great option that takes you to a number of vineyards in the region without you ever having to get behind the wheel.

If you are charged with a DUI, do not try to handle it on your own. Contact an attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and represent your case.

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