5 FAQs on blood alcohol content and gender differences

Men and women respond differently to alcohol. This isn’t only a cultural difference; it is a subject for scientific research.

In this post, we will address some common questions about how gender differences affect the possibility for DUI.

Is it really true that women tend to become intoxicated more quickly than men?


In part, this relates to the fact that women often weigh less than men. But the most important reason is that men and women have different metabolisms influencing how alcohol is absorbed and processed by the body.

How are men’s and women’s metabolisms different?

One difference relates to an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase that is produced in the liver and breaks down alcohol. Women have less of this enzyme than men.

The percentage of water in the body is also different for men and women. Alcohol does not become as diluted in women as with men because women’s percentage of water is smaller.

How do these differences in metabolism affect blood alcohol level?

In practice, these differences mean women tend to become intoxicated more quickly than men and to remain intoxicated longer. Women who drink the same amount as men reach or exceed the 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for DUI more rapidly than men and stay there longer.

How do arrest rates for DUI compare between men and women?

Historically, men were arrested much more often than women for DUI. In recent years, however, DUI arrests for men have gone done down while arrests for women have gone up.

What if you have been charged?

For purposes of DUI charges, the state doesn’t get to rely on sociological data about gender differences. Knowing this could be especially important for you if you’re a woman and get stopped on the way home from having a happy hour with your girlfriends.

The law requires the state to show numerous specific elements of DUI to prove its case. We therefore encourage you to consult with an experienced DUI attorney who can challenge the state’s proof or lack thereof.

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