All people should be judged equally under the law. This is the whole reason why the statue of Justice is always depicted as blind. The law doesn’t see color, creed, sex, gender, and so on. And yet, when it comes to certain cases and crimes, there does seem to be some differing behavior occurring among law enforcement. Today, we are discussing how men and women seem to be treated differently and experience different outcomes regarding driving under the influence (DUI) stops and arrests.
Physiological Differences & DUIs
Men and women metabolize alcohol differently. In particular, it is believed that the lower body water concentration in women than men, on average, pushed a higher amount of alcohol into the bloodstream. The result is that a female who drinks two beers could be arrested for a DUI due to a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level whereas a male who has the same two beers in the same timeframe is allowed to go on his way.
Oppositely, more men are arrested each year for DUIs than women, despite there not being a huge disparity between the number of female drinkers compared to male drinkers. This may be due to officer discretion.
Chemical testing is also somewhat unreliable due to the biological differences between men and women. A man’s body temperature is steadier than a females due to the general stability of their hormones throughout a day or given period of time. This slight fluctuation in women can create inaccurate breathalyzer device results, sometimes showing a BAC level that is higher than normal.
Oddities of Field Sobriety Testing
When a man is asked to perform a field sobriety test on the side of the road in the middle of the night, officers frequently report that there is little to no hesitation from the suspect. Females, on the other hand, usually appear reluctant to complete a field sobriety test. The belief is that women understandably do not want to endanger themselves by exiting their vehicle to interact with a police officer, who is statistically more likely to be a strong, tall, or burly male.
Even something as commonplace as footwear can skew the results of a field sobriety test. Men are almost certainly going to be wearing sneakers, boots, or other flat-soled shoes. Women might not be, having chosen to wear heels that day. Walking a straight line in high heels without stumbling can be a challenge for anyone, and the instability might be mistaken for intoxication. Even if a woman asks to remove her heels before performing the test, stepping onto hot or uneven asphalt is hardly any better.
Refusing Field Sobriety Tests
Until field sobriety testing methods can be advanced and perfected, eliminating the possibility of undue outside influence based on the suspect’s sex, the common advice is to simply refuse to take them. In California, you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test without any immediate legal consequences. A mandatory chemical test, however, should be taken, as refusal triggers an instantaneous suspension of your license.
At Wapner Jones, PC, our Fresno DUI lawyers have the skills and experience necessary to challenge chemical test results and DUI arrests. If you have been pulled over and are now facing serious DUI charges, contact us right away.