DUI: The wine had a high alcohol content

Posted by William H. Sherman on May 19, 2016 | 0 Comments

Question:  I think I'd never get a DUI because I don't drink that much. But the other night I went out to dinner with a few friends and we just drank wine. We love going out and sampling different types of wines. I thought I'd try some port wine and I must admit I probably drank too much of it. By the time I left the restaurant I had a pretty good buzz.

My friends just drank white, some reds and whites. They didn't drink any port wine. When I got into my car I was driving home and I swerved off the road and hit a tree. I wasn't injured, but someone called 911 and the Forsyth County deputies came and they arrested me for DUI.

Like I said, I really don't drink all that much so I'm not sure how I got so drunk. I took the breath test and I blew a .284. I realize that's super high. But my two friends made it home and were fine, barely even drunk.

I'm not sure what happened because I don't get that drunk from a few glasses of wine. I mean port wine is still wine, so it's not like I was drinking gin or vodka or anything hard.

I was wondering if any of this could help my defense, because I don't know how I got so drunk.

D.T. in Cumming, GA

Answer:  Port wine is what's called “fortified wine.” Distilled spirits are added to the grapes to “fortify” them. Because of that, port wine can have a substantially higher alcohol content than regular wine.

In fact, port wine has an alcohol content of typically between 19% and 23%. Whereas wine usually has an alcohol content of 12% to 14%. That is likely what accounted for your higher-than-normal intoxication level. Sounds like you were used to regular wine and not port wine and just didn't gauge the difference very well.

Although not understanding the implications of the alcohol you consumed in itself doesn't amount to a legal defense to DUI, perhaps there are other issues that will help you. We need to look carefully at all of the evidence, including the police report and the video, to assess what your best defense is.

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William H. Sherman

With a professional background that includes serving as a Senior Assistant County Attorney and as an Assistant Attorney General, attorney William H. Sherman has great experience, a broad range of legal knowledge and a proven record of success.  Each of Mr. Sherman's clients gets the full benefit of his experience.  Because attorney Sherman has worked for governmental organizations, large corporations and clerked for a judge, he has handled a wide variety of cases from negotiation and trial to successful appeal. Mr. Sherman is very proud of his reputation as a problem-solver who is always available to his clients.  Active in the community, Mr. Sherman and his wife, attorney Valerie Sherman, support many community organizations, sports teams and charities.  Call him now and let his experience work for you.


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