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DUI: it’s not a boy’s club

It’s a relatively short drive from Leesburg to the offices of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility in Arlington, Virginia. The group says it is fighting to eliminate drunk driving and to promote “responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol.”

The organization partners with like-minded groups in conducting and publicizing research on alcohol-related topics, including a 2011 study of the growth of drunk driving among women and girls.

The group notes that back in the 1980s, females arrested for drunken driving accounted for a mere 9 percent of all DUI offenses in the U.S. Today, the figure has risen to about one quarter of all DUI offenses.

Researchers say there are three hypotheses about why the percentage of women drunk drivers has risen so substantially over the past few decades: women’s roles have changed in society; cultural norms have shifted; social control mechanisms have changed over the years.

Regardless of which theory might be correct, the reality is that while studies indicate that women drink and drive less frequently than men, there are substantial numbers of women finding themselves accused of driving while impaired.

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation said in its 2011 study that the average age of a first-offense female DUI driver is 31. The average female DUI driver is older than the average male DUI driver; she typically has both more education and a lower income.

Regardless of the demographics, male and female drivers alleged to be drunk while driving face the same harsh penalties if convicted, and therefore have the same need for an experienced DUI defense attorney to guide them through a complex legal process.

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