More women are being arrested for DWI

New York residents may be surprised to learn the number of women facing DWI charges is on the rise. FBI statistics show that the number of men arrested for drunk driving has declined since the mid-1990s, but in that same time the number of arrested women has increased. Male drivers still make up the bulk of DUI/DWI arrests, however, accounting for about 75 percent of arrests in 2011.

The reasons behind this shift are somewhat unclear. Some researchers say that more women may be drinking and driving due to societal evolutions; more women work outside the home than in previous generations, so this means more women are on the roads, susceptible to arrest. Others say that lowering the blood-alcohol limit from .10 percent to .08 percent in 2000 caused more female drivers to become caught in the net of illegal activity. A woman might have a blood-alcohol content of .08 after only a couple glasses of wine.

Regardless of the cause, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation has found that the majority of surveyed women suffered a "major life stressor" prior to being arrested for a DWI. TIRF has said that its findings suggest that women who do drink and drive might benefit from alcohol education and treatment programs, among other services.

In New York, a conviction for a DWI often leads to more complications and difficulties for individuals, rather than providing access to the help they may need. A DWI conviction cause a person to forfeit his or her license, sustain steep fines and even spend time in jail.

Everyone who is arrested for DWI does not need to be convicted. In many cases, there are strategies available to successfully defend a DWI case. Those who face DWI charges here in New York should consider seeking legal counsel.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "DUI demographics point to higher mix of women," Ted Gregory, Sept. 12, 2013

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