Men and women absorb and metabolize alcohol very differently. Women will have a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) after drinking the same amount of alcohol as men. This is due to women having a smaller amount of body water and less of an alcohol metabolizing compound known as ADH in their stomach, permitting more alcohol to reach the blood. Generally, the amount of alcohol which is oxidized in a 150 pound male or female is about a half an ounce per hour–the equivalent of one 12 ounce beer, 6 ounces of wine, or one mixed drink (1.5 oz of liquor).
It is generally recognized that a 150 pound man will be legally intoxicated after 3 drinks, with a BAC of approximately .087, whereas, with a woman of similar weight, after three drinks, her BAC would be about .10. However, if the woman only weighed 100 pounds, she could easily become legally intoxicated (.08 or above) after as little as two drinks. Other factors, such as how much one has eaten, when they ate, what was consumed, and drinking habits do affect these approximate alcohol absorption calculations. Women are more likely to suffer from alcoholic liver disease, damage to the heart and brain damage from the long term effects of alcohol consumption.
Under New York State law, a driver can be charged with driving while intoxicated with a BAC of .08 and above, and charged with New York aggravated DWI with a blood alcohol content of .18 and above. If the BAC is less than .08, in the region of .05 to .07, a driver can only be charged with New York DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, which is a traffic infraction, not a crime.