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Female DUI in Fresno

Beware: Alcohol Impacts Males & Females Differently.

While men are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in California more than women, the gap has narrowed in the past years. Thus, let’s discuss the issues regarding how alcohol impacts women differently than men.

In California, if you are driving under the influence, you can get arrested for a DUI. A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is illegal in California, though this percentage is lower for minors and commercial drivers. The police test a driver's BAC by using breath or blood chemical tests, as well as field sobriety tests (FSTs), driving patterns, or other objective signs of intoxication to arrest you for DUI.

Consumption of alcohol can affect men and women differently based on certain factors such as weight, biological, societal, and behavioral influences, which is why they can have different experiences with alcohol. As an example, a male who weighs 150 pounds and consumes three alcoholic drinks within one hour is estimated to have a BAC of 0.075%. However, a female who weighs the same, and also consumes three alcoholic drinks in the same amount of time would have an estimated BAC of 0.094%.

Field Sobriety Tests (FST)

Field sobriety tests may impact men and women differently for reasons such as:

  1. Safety Issues: Law enforcement is a male-dominated industry, meaning police and highway patrol officers are more likely to be male. DUI stops often take place at night, after dark. Thus, a female driver may be more hesitant to comply with a male officer's requests in a dark location away from the public. This hesitancy may manifest itself as anxiousness or nervousness when a male officer demands a female driver to step out of the car and take field sobriety tests. An officer may incorrectly assume that the female driver’s anxious behavior results from the influence of alcohol when it actually stems from fear for her safety.
  2. Stress Reaction: Anyone who is stopped by the police for suspicion of DUI will be stressed. However, men and women can react differently to stressful situations. A police officer may falsely assume a person’s reaction to stress is a sign that they are guilty, or that they are under the influence of alcohol. This may cause police to arbitrarily arrest someone without any evidence that they are intoxicated.
  3. Footwear: When an officer asks a driver to complete field sobriety tests, the type of shoes a driver is wearing may affect their FST results. Female drivers may be wearing high-heeled shoes which can be less stable than flat-soled shoes. Even if the police allow the driver to remove high-heeled shoes, the tests may be difficult to complete when they are barefoot and walking on the asphalt in the dark or during the daytime under the hot sun. As a result, this may give inaccurate sobriety results.

Breath and Blood Chemical BAC Tests

Chemical testing can affect men and women differently due to factors such as:

Hormones and body temperature: A female’s body temperature can fluctuate over the month, potentially resulting in an inaccurate breathalyzer test. Breathalyzer devices are designed for use in the average person and not calibrated to account for fluctuations in body temperature.

Body composition: Females tend to have a higher percentage of body fat than males, which can impact their BAC results. This is because fat does not absorb alcohol, which can result in a higher BAC for females compared to males even though they may have consumed the same amount of alcohol.

Fresno DUI Defense Lawyers Serving the Entire Central Valley

Our goal is to help you understand every element of your DUI case, including factors that may have resulted in your arrest. Over the past 65+ years as Fresno DUI defense lawyers, we have seen firsthand how male and female BAC levels differ and strive to educate our clients on the reasons behind their charge.

We have the skills, knowledge and professional representation to guide you through the legal process from beginning to end. If you have questions regarding a DUI in Fresno, Tulare, Kings, or Madera counties, do not hesitate to contact Wapner Jones, PC at (559) 257-4707 to schedule a free consultation!

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    About Terry A. Wapner Terry A. Wapner has been practicing criminal law in California's San Joaquin Valley for over 31 years, ...
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