What are the DUI Laws in California?
While there are more men than women charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Fresno, California, the gap has become considerably narrow. Thus, it is important to understand the various issues and concerns that may arise when female drivers are stopped and subsequently arrested by law enforcement officers on suspicion of DUI.
In the state of California, you will be arrested for DUI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is determined to be 0.08 percent or higher. Also, should the law enforcement officer feel that you are DUI after observing you during the traffic stop an arrest is possible. Your BAC may be tested by utilizing breath and/or chemical tests. In Fresno, intoxication may also be determined through the use of field sobriety tests (FSTs), objective signs of intoxication and your driving pattern at the time of the traffic stop.
In some cases, it may take less consumption of alcoholic beverages for female drivers to reach the legal limit of intoxication than it does for male drivers. For example, a 150-pound male who consumes three alcoholic drinks in a one-hour period is estimated to have a BAC of 0.075 percent. A 150-pound female who consumes the same amount in the same time frame is estimated to have a BAC of 0.093 percent.
Tests that are used to determine intoxication levels can be skewed for a variety of reasons. However, it seems that female drivers may be more vulnerable than male drivers. There are biological considerations, as well as societal and behavioral influences.
Issues related to Fresno Field Sobriety Tests
- Safety concerns: Law enforcement officers are predominantly male and that means when females are stopped for suspicion of DUI, they are usually approached by a male officer. A DUI stop usually takes place after dark when females may be more hesitant to comply with the requests for an officer. Often the resulting anxious or nervous behavior will be interpreted by the officer as the appearance of guilt, thus it may be unjustly assumed that the female driver is DUI involving alcohol.
- Stress: When a driver is stopped by law enforcement officers for suspicion of being DUI it can be a stressful situation for both males and females. However, females and males can react differently to these types of situations. Some females may react by shaking or crying when they are approached by law enforcement officers. An officer may evaluate this reaction as meaning that the female driver is guilty of DUI and she may be arrested in an arbitrary manner.
- Footwear: Many females wear high-heeled shoes, especially after dark. While it is reasonable for law enforcement officers to allow female drivers to remove this type of shoe in order to complete a field sobriety test, it is possible that these tests may be more difficult to perform while the female driver is barefoot. This may result in inaccurate findings by Fresno law enforcement officers.
Issues related to breath and chemical tests in California
- Hormones and body temperature: During certain times each month, the body temperature of a female can rise resulting in inaccurate breath test results. Keep in mind that breathalyzer devices have been designed for testing an average person and it may be incapable of properly reading the BAC of a woman in certain situations.
- Body composition: Females may have higher proportions of body fat than found in males. Body fat does not absorb alcohol, therefore it may cause higher levels of alcohol absorption in a person's blood. This can impact the BAC of a female test subject.
Contact an attorney
If you are facing charges related to a first offense DUI, do not think that your only choice is to plead guilty. Take a moment to contact Terry A. Wapner and schedule a consultation in order to discuss the facts of your case and be advised of your options.