Quick, imagine someone driving drunk. Okay, who did you picture? If you are like many people, you imagined a man, maybe in his 30s, or perhaps you conjured a college student-still male. There is probably a reason you envisioned a man; after all, the fact is that men drive more under the influence than women do. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points out that 1.5 percent of the female drivers in a 2007 survey had a BAC in excess of 0.08 percent, while the figure was 2.6 percent for men. That said, there are many considerations for women who drive after drinking.
1. Smaller amounts of alcohol affect women more
Women’s bodies process alcohol differently than men’s bodies do. In other words, it takes a smaller amount of alcohol to affect a woman than it does a man. However, not enough people know this. A woman may think she is safe to drive after having the same amount of liquor as her male counterpart who appears unaffected. Thirty minutes later, a police officer pulling her over could change the course of her life-and she really did think she was okay to drive.
2. Drinking is becoming more commonplace and subtle
Then there is the fact that drinking has become more ingrained in society. You may have a couple of drinks at lunch and never give it a second thought. More TV programs show men and women drinking wine to cope with everyday stresses such as kids and work. Travel ads feature people drinking as part of enjoying their vacations. Often, these ads are targeted toward women. Women may drink at a time of the day (a power lunch, perhaps) when they never would have before, or may be drinking more. This could increase their likelihood of being pulled over for a suspected DUI.
3. Society may not be as accepting
It is socially “accepted” that men will drink. When the story turns to women, not so much. For instance, a judge may be more harsh with a mother suspected of DUI than with a father. Moreover, such biases can be, and often are, entirely unconscious. Thus a woman may be dealt more severe penalties without cause. The good news is that appeals and post-conviction relief can be options in such cases.
If you are a woman who has been pulled over for DUI or DWI, getting in touch with an attorney as soon as possible helps ensure your rights are upheld. You deserve to be treated fairly.