Are Women More Likely to be Charged with DUI
When an officer pulls over a driver for suspected drunk driving, he or she makes no distinction over whether the suspect is male or female. The decision to charge a suspect with DUI stems from a variety of factors, such as a breathalyzer, blood alcohol test, or behavior indicators. If the breathalyzer returns a blood alcohol concentration number of 0.08 percent or higher, charges are likely to follow.
However, research shows that women are more likely than men to incur a DUI charge when drinking the same amount of alcohol.
Explanation of Functional Tolerance
Alcohol affects everyone differently, which is the result of a variety of elements that have little to do with whether someone is a “lightweight” when it comes to handling his or her alcohol. Having a functional tolerance to alcohol may enable a person of the same sex, weight, and age to have the same amount of alcohol but perform at a higher functioning level, which may prevent an initial traffic stop; when comparing breathalyzers, an equal BAC results in identical charges.
The brain has adverse reactions to alcohol in the system. However, over time of repeatedly being in the same condition, the brain learns to overcome the impairment just as it would an injury.
Metabolic Tolerance Matters
A difference in metabolic tolerance results in BAC level variations. Some people metabolize alcohol faster than others—a factor that is passed down through genetics and is not a learned behavior. Body composition plays a role in individual metabolic rate, as does activity level, age, family history, and eating habits.
A study out of the University School of Medicine in Trieste, Italy shows that merely being a male or female also results in fluctuations. According to their results, women have a lower level of the gastrointestinal enzyme, gastric alcohol dehydrogenase. This enzyme is found within the stomach lining and is responsible for breaking down alcohol.
In general, men have a higher level of the gastric alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme, thus enabling them to consume more alcohol. During the study, women reached the maximum BAC levels after drinking 20 to 30 percent less alcohol than men, even when weight was taken into account. Other research shows that women also have a lower partition ratio, resulting in a higher breathalyzer reading, even if the true BAC is below the legal limit.
Is There a Double Standard?
Although an officer may not blatantly discriminate against male or female, the technology behind breathalyzers is not designed to give an exact result of the amount of alcohol consumed, nor is it an accurate representation of the level of impairment. If you face DUI charges, a Wheaton, IL breathalyzer defense attorney can help. At Davi Law Group, LLC, we strive to provide you with quality and reliable representation at an affordable price. Contact us today at 630-580-6373 to get started.