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Young? Male? Your odds of being arrested for drunk driving are higher

Your age and gender aren’t under your control, but they certainly have an impact on your likelihood of facing an arrest (and a possible conviction) for drunk driving.

Generally speaking, men enjoy a little bit of extra protection against a drunk driving charge simply because of their size, muscle mass and the way their bodies process alcohol compared to the average woman. It’s estimated that it takes a 180-pound male four drinks to get legally drunk, while a 120-pound woman can expect to be legally impaired after just two.

When it comes to drunk driving, however, the tables turn: Men are roughly four times more likely to end up arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) than women. Even more significant: Younger men (21-34 years of age) comprise only 11% of the population but they’re involved in 32% of known drunk driving incidents.

Why do younger men make up the bulk of drunk driving arrests?

If the average woman gets drunk faster than the average man, why are men — and young men, in particular — so likely to end up facing OWI charges? Theories abound, such as:

  • Younger men are more likely to socialize in public at bars or other places that have alcohol without concern for their safety, which means they don’t have to limit their drinking.
  • If a male-female couple is out where there is alcohol, the male is more likely to be driving the vehicle they are in due to common social conventions.
  • Young males are generally believed to be more inclined to engage in risky behavior than young females — including taking chances behind the wheel.

Does this mean every young male is likely to drink and drive? Of course not. However, it does mean that you can expect the police to scrutinize your driving just a little bit harder if you happen to be male and are heading home from an area that’s known for bars or parties.

What can you do if you’ve been arrested for OWI?

In your panic, don’t forget the cardinal rule that everyone should remember when dealing with the police: You have a right to remain silent — and you should use it. Getting legal guidance before you speak with the police is the best thing to do.