Interviewer: Are there any patterns that you notice that are different between men and women?
Because of Size and Body Weight, Women Are Affected by Alcohol at a Faster Pace Than Are Men
Brian Sloan: With alcohol, it definitely takes less alcohol for most women to get to the same level as it would a man. Where it might take men a six-pack to get to a certain alcohol level, it might take women only two 12-ounce beers.
It has to do with body weight, it has to do with size and it has to do with what a person has had to eat, how they absorb the alcohol, how they eliminate the alcohol. Women tend to have much higher blood alcohol levels than men.
We have seen mainly women had levels where people should be in a coma and sometimes these are levels where people should be dead from alcohol poisoning, but they’re standing there, they’re able to talk, they’re able to communicate with officers, but they have really high blood alcohol levels. Some of it has to do with the tolerance. There’s definitely a difference between men and women.
Should Women Be Subject to a Different Legal Blood Alcohol Limit than Men or Be Allowed Expanded Defenses Due to Their Gender?
However, on a legal standpoint, there have been arguments by attorneys to say that because there’s such a physiological difference between men and women, they should not be treated the same. Legally speaking, the courts have not accepted that type of argument and kept the law and indicated that it is constitutional that the blood alcohol level is .08 for every man or woman.
Interviewer: Can a woman expect to be treated differently in court, for example, if she is a single working mother?
Brian Sloan: I haven’t seen a jury really take that into consideration. The jury is just there to decide whether someone was driving or in actual physical control and whether their ability to drive was impaired to the slightest degree by the consumption of alcohol or if they had a blood alcohol level above prescribed limits or if they had any drug or metabolite in their system that shouldn’t be there or someone was impaired by the alcohol, drugs or vapor-releasing substance.
Juries Rarely Examine the Number of Drinks a Defendant Ingested to Have a Blood Alcohol Level over the Legal Limit
The fact that it only took someone two drinks to get there isn’t really a concern to the jury, and they don’t really know what it took. In a way, a criminalist can take the stand and indicate what they believe the person consumed in order to get to that blood alcohol content and at the time that they were arrested, the person might admit to how much they consumed, but that doesn’t mean that it’s correct.
It never really comes into play that this person only had two drinks to get to that level. This is because you really don’t know if that’s true, and it doesn’t really matter how many drinks it took, simply that the person was at that level and either was or was not impaired.
Interviewer: Do you ever see any happy hour DUIs?
Brian Sloan: I haven’t really noticed a trend except that people tend to get arrested more during late night hours and the really early morning hours. That’s when most of the arrests take place. That’s when most of the DUI squads are out there trying to really enforce the DUI laws.