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The Double Disadvantage of the Female Drinking Driver

Posted by Tom Hudson | Jan 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

Tammy Wynette put it best: "Sometimes it's hard to be a woman..."

That is especially true in the arena of DUI law. A female behind the wheel after a couple of drinks is at a double disadvantage compared to her male counterpart.

The first disadvantage is obvious. Men are generally larger than women. But because drinks don't come in a "male size" and a "female size," that means that an identical number of drinks can result in a substantially higher breath or blood alcohol level in the female drinker. It's a substantial problem under modern drunk driving laws.

The second disadvantage to the female drinker arises from the body structure that men find so attractive. The gentle curves of the female body result from the physiological fact that women have more body fat than men do. On average, a woman has a 25% higher body fat level than a man does. That is, the average woman has a body fat percentage of around 20%, while an average man's body fat is around 16%.

What does this have to do with alcohol?

Alcohol is a "hydrophilic" chemical. It dilutes in water, but is repelled from fatty tissue. When you drink alcohol, the alcohol accumulates in the water-based parts of your body: the brain, the blood, the organs and the muscles.

Since an average man has more muscle and more blood volume (water-based tissue) than a woman, the alcohol that he drinks is more diluted by his muscles, organs and blood volume. A woman's body, with less muscle and more fatty tissues, squeezes the alcohol she drinks into a smaller volume of water-based tissue. It's like pouring the same amount of alcohol in a smaller container.

The result is that a woman--even if she is the same height and weight as her male drinking partner--will get a 20-25% higher blood alcohol level from the same drink.

So when the experts say to calculate a .02 blood alcohol for every beer, drink or glass of wine, DON'T BELIEVE THEM. If you are a woman, you should calculate .035 for every drink. It is a rare woman who can rely on being under the limit if she has more than two drinks in an hour.

Just one more way that life isn't fair.

About the Author

Tom Hudson

Known nationwide as a leading DUI defense lawyer, Tom has tried over 350 jury trials, including numerous death penalty cases. He now limits his criminal practice to DUI defense. His civil practice is devoted to getting fair compensation for the victims of negligence. In 2008, Tom Hudson passed the National College of DUI Defense Board Certification Test for DUI Attorneys in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is now recognized as Board Certified in DUI Defense by the NCDD and was re-certified in 2013. Fewer than 100 lawyers in the entire country have attained this level of professional recognition. Tom is also currently the Florida State Delegate to the National College for DUI Defense, and is the Coordinator of State Delegates for the 12 Southeastern States. NOTE: The State of Florida does not yet recognize DUI defense as a Specialty.

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Board Certification in DUI Defense

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Tom Hudson passed the National Board Certification Examination (written and oral) in Honolulu in 2008, and was recertified in 2013. He was one of the first 50 lawyers granted national board certification in DUI Defense, and is nationally recognized as an authority in DUI law.

Why We're Different

Board Certification as a DUI Specialist by the National College for DUI Defense. Formal NHTSA Certification as an Instructor of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests given by police in DUI cases. Formal training as a NHTSA Drug Recognition Evaluator. ("Drug Evaluation & Classification") Formal training to operate the Intoxilyzer 8000, Florida's official breath test instrument. Extensive experience in teaching other attorneys how to handle DUI cases. Hundreds of jury trials both as defense lawyer and as prosecutor. Florida's State Delegate to the National College for DUI Defense.