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DUI Laws Discriminate Against Women?

Los Angeles DUI Attorney Cites Studies Showing Unfairness

2009 | Aug 31

Los Angeles DUI lawyer Lawrence Taylor claims that the current DUI laws discriminate against women.

Taylor, nationally-known author of the book Drunk Driving Defense, cites researchers at the University School of Medicine in Trieste, Italy, who found that women have less alcohol dehydrogenase than men. With less of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the stomach, women reach the same blood alcohol concentration as men after drinking only half as much.

The scientists found that women reached blood alcohol levels illegal in a DUI case after drinking 20 to 30 percent less alcohol than men of equal weight.

The scientists’ conclusion, reported in 322(2) New England Journal of Medicine 95: legislatures need to consider sex differences in drafting DUI laws.

Taylor, who heads a law firm of Los Angeles DUI lawyers and Orange County DUI lawyers, cites another study reporting lower partition ratios in women – the ratio of alcohol in the breath (measured by breathalyzers in DUI cases) to alcohol actually in the blood. The breathalyzer assumes a ratio of 2100:1, but that is only an average and varies from person to person.

According to a study in the scientific journal Analytical Toxicology, women have significantly lower partition ratios than men. And the lower the ratio, the higher the reading — even though the true blood alcohol level does not vary. The Los Angeles DUI lawyer says this means that a woman with a true level of .06% and a ratio of 1500:1 will produce a reading on the machine of .09% — above the legal limit.

Put another way, Taylor says, the breathalyzer will show an average man accused of drunk driving to be innocent — but a woman with the same blood alcohol level to be guilty.

And then, Taylor says, there’s the problem of birth control….

Scientists in Canada have found that women taking oral contraceptives appeared to reach peak blood alcohol levels faster than women not taking them (Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal 17 (1982)). Making the problem worse, other studies report higher levels of acetaldehyde on their breath, due to the decreased ability to metabolize the enzyme as the level of sex steroids increases (8(4) Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 352).

The Los Angeles DUI attorney explains that most breath machines are unable to tell acetaldehyde from alcohol. Result: a false reading...and a possible DUI conviction.

For more Information, visit the firm’s main website at http://losangeles.duicentral.com/. Inquiries may be directed to the firm’s main Los Angeles office: 562.989.4774.

Daniel Stanton

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Lawrence Taylor have an average experience of 18 years; the firm has specialized only in DUI defense since 1979. More information about Mr. Taylor's firm can be found at their homepage, www.duicentral.com.