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3/26/2019 Alcohol Related Crimes - Alcohol Addiction Center

Alcohol Related Crimes


  What is Alcoholism?  Alcohol Related Crimes

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An Overview of Alcohol Related Crimes

How Alcohol Related Crime Affects Victims

Stats on Alcohol Related Crimes

Ending Addiction and Reducing Crime

Alcohol can ruin the body and ravage the mind. But, unfortunately, the
consequences are not limited to an individual. There are a number of
crimes that are directly or indirectly related to the consumption of
alcohol. And when those crimes occur, the consequences affect the
offender, their family, and often the public in general.

Alcohol lowers one’s inhibition and impairs one’s judgment. For those
reasons there is a close link between alcohol and criminal behaviors.
According to the Department of Justice there are 2 million convicted
criminals currently in jail. Of those, 37% report that they were drinking at
the time of their arrest. The data also shows that alcohol plays a role in
40% of all violent crimes.

Exploring alcohol related crimes is important for understanding the


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impact of alcohol on individuals and society at large. Criminality may


not be the first symptom that people associate with problematic
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not be the first symptom that people associate with problematic
drinking, but it’s a significant symptom nonetheless.

An Overview of Alcohol Related Crimes


Some crimes are directly related to a person’s blood-alcohol level, driving
under the influence for example. Others are related to the impaired state of
mind that alcohol induces. In either case there are strict legal ramifications,
severe financial penalties, and life-long personal consequences to contend
with if found guilty. Here is an overview of the most common alcohol related
crimes:

Driving Under the In uence

This entry is at the top of the list for a reason. There are 29 people who die every
day because of alcohol-impaired crashes, which totals more than 10,000 people
every year or one death every 50 minutes. Sadly, fatalities are so common because
drunk driving is a ubiquitous crime. In 2014 alone over 1 million drivers were arrested
for driving under the influence, and millions more were never caught. Driving after
drinking any amount of alcohol is dangerous. Driving with a blood alcohol level
above the legal limit is grounds for arrest.

Public Intoxication

A drunk person in public is a danger to themselves, others, and property too. And, at
the very least, they are often an annoyance to everyone around them. It may be
legal to drink and be intoxicated in some public places – bars or concerts for
example. But in most other public places it is illegal to be visibly drunk. Offenders
are often arrested and held until they sober up, but the relatively light sentence
does not mean this is a minor crime. People who are drunk in public are one bad
decision away from becoming harder criminals.
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Minor in Possession
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All of the worst consequences related to alcohol consumption are multiplied when
the drinker is a teenager. That is why there is a legal drinking age, and why there
are tougher penalties when minors are caught with alcohol. Offenders are typically
charged a fee and then required to complete community service or participate in an
alcohol awareness program. A minor in possession charge is often used to teach
rather than punish, but there are harsher penalties for repeat offenders. Plus, minors
can still be charged with more severe alcohol-related crimes like assault or
vehicular homicide.

Robbery

There are a number of reasons that alcohol could lead someone to steal.
Drunkeness often causes people to covet things they do not have and disrespect
the rights and boundaries of others. Furthermore, drinking is an expensive habit that
makes earning and saving money difficult. Not all drunks are compelled to steal, but
some are, which is why robbery is a common alcohol-related crime. The penalties
differ depending on the nature of the robbery and the value of the stolen goods. But,
in most cases, robbery is considered a felony and carries strict penalties including
potential jail time.

Intimate Partner Violence

An intimate partner is a spouse, live-in partner, or anyone closely-linked to the


offender. Violence includes physical attacks as well as sexual assaults, stalking, or
psychological aggression. According to the World Health Organization, up to 55% of
the victims believe their attacker was under the influence of alcohol. Since drinking
often happens with or around an intimate partner, these partners often suffer through
the worst consequences of alcohol related crimes. These include direct attacks but
also difficult parenting arrangements, strained financial circumstances, domestic
instability, and more.

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The same factors that lead some who is drunk to assault others can lead them to
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abuse children. Abuse includes physical violence as well as neglect, maltreatment,


and verbal/emotional abuse. Data from the World Health Organization shows that in
the US, 35% of people arrested for child abuse consumed alcohol at the time of the
incident. Convictions for child abuse come with heavy penalties, but the victims
themselves suffer the worst consequences. They often struggle with issues related
to addiction or abuse as a result of the mistreatment they experience early in life.

Homicide

Alcohol is able to amplify emotions, which is why it plays a role in so many


homicides. People are enticed to violence, and once they arrive at that heightened
state they carry their actions further than the would normally. This is part of why 40%
of murderers were found to be drinking when they committed their crimes – more
than any other substance including heroin or cocaine. The penalty for any kind of
homicide is sweeping, but in the worst instances it can be life in prison or even
death.

Sexual Assault

This type of assault could be related to child abuse or intimate partner violence, or it
could be perpetrated on a stranger. Rape is the most extreme form of sexual
violence, but the term applies to any form of unwanted touching, intimacy, or
attention. Alcohol plays a role in many sexual assaults, and it could be either the
victim or the offender who is drunk. The offender is often compelled to perpetrate a
horrendous act because of booze. Conversely, alcohol is often used to lower the
defenses of the victim. Anyone convicted of sexual assault should expect significant
legal penalties that continue even after an offender is released from prison.

How Alcohol Related Crime Affects


Victims Get 24/7 help
1.866.278.8150

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Not everyone who drinks will commit a crime. However, there is a clear
and fairly obvious link between drinking, poor decision making, criminal
behavior, and legal consequences. That is why so many people
currently behind bars or living with a criminal record have a history of
problematic drinking.

Understanding what kinds of criminal behaviors common and what kinds


of penalties they carry is important. However, selfishness is another
consequence of drinking. And to ignore or obscure how alcohol related
crimes affect victims is a way to excuse the offenders and overlook the
complete consequences of alcohol on families, neighborhoods,
communities, and society at large.

Victims of crimes grapple with many serious and confusing emotions. It is


not an exaggeration to call what they are struggling with post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD). The symptoms of PTSD are deep, disruptive, and
often occur repeatedly over the long-term. Medical care and counseling
can help, but victims may not have access to resources or the will to
seek them out.

Ironically, one way that victims often cope with PTSD is with alcohol.
That means the victims of alcohol related crimes may be at higher risk of
committing one themselves. Problematic drinking has many, many
negative consequences. It can’t be overlooked that one of the worst is
passing on the same problematic habits to others.

Alcohol abuse rarely has only one victim, and the consequences are
rarely short lived. Alcohol related crime could cause the offender to lose
some money or freedom. But, more importantly, those crimes could also
have lifelong consequences for friends, family members, or even total
strangers. The problem may be centered on one person, but the
consequences radiate to everyone in their proximity. Get 24/7 help
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Stats on Alcohol Related Crimes

It comes as little surprise that people who are impaired by alcohol


are involved in crimes more often. But the extent of this link only
becomes clear once you take a hard look at the data. Consider
some eye-opening statistics that reveal the full impact of this
problem:

 1 in 4 victims of violent crime reports that their attacker


had been drinking before the incident.

 Only 5% of violent crimes involve the attacker being


impaired on drugs exclusively.

 Violent offenders who are drunk often have a blood


alcohol level 2 to 3 times higher than the legal limit.

 More than 50% of men receiving treatment for alcohol


addiction report being violent to an intimate partner
within the previous year.

 Rates of reported assaults are higher in areas with larger


concentrations of bars and liquor stores.

Ending Addiction and Reducing Crime


Drinking alcohol does not cause a person to become a criminal.
Similarly, abstaining from alcohol does not exempt a person from
criminal behavior. But there is enough research at this point to conclude
that criminal behavior and the consumption of alcohol are closely Get 24/7 help
1.866.278.8150

related. It is also undeniable that the legal, social, and familial


f d i ki
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consequences of drinking are as severe as anything that can happen to
the mind or body. Seeking out treatment for addiction to alcohol or
problematic drinking is the surest way to avoid the worst possible
outcomes.

Sources:
 https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/10report/chap01c.pdf

 https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving

 https://www.madd.org/statistics/

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the world of alcohol addiction. It is our hope that with increased awareness, more and more people
will get help with their alcohol problems.
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