Alcohol abuse can negatively impact a person’s life, and even cause them to break the law. Alcohol is more commonly connected to violent crimes, such as rape, murder, and child and spousal abuse, than any other substance.
Alcohol And Crime
Too much alcohol disrupts normal brain function, which increases the chance that a person will commit a crime, such as drinking and driving or public intoxication. Alcohol increases the rate of aggressive behavior and plays a major role in violent crime. Whether the crime is drinking and driving, public intoxication, or violence against others, alcohol and crime are often closely connected.
“Alcohol consumption may promote aggression because people expect it to. For example, research using real and mock alcoholic beverages shows that people who believe they have consumed alcohol begin to act more aggressively, regardless of which beverage they actually consumed,” (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
The following are common alcohol-related crimes:
Disorderly Conduct And Public Intoxication
Alcohol intoxication causes many people to become loud, unruly, aggressive, and belligerent, sometimes putting themselves or others in harm’s way. Many jurisdictions have made disorderly conduct and public intoxication (drunk and disorderly) a crime. In many cities, alcohol is only permitted in places with a license to serve alcohol or in the home. In most parts of the United States, drunk and disorderly conduct is punishable with a night in jail, fines, and probation.
Driving Under The Influence (DUI)
Alcohol slows a person’s reaction time, judgment, coordination, and vision. It’s extremely dangerous to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime, and it kills three people every two hours in the United States. Driving under the influence has one of the highest arrest rates among major crimes, and it can lead to fines, probation, and jail/prison time. The charge of vehicular manslaughter carries a sentence of up to life in prison.
Minor In Possession (MIP)
It’s against the law in the United States to drink alcohol under the age of 21. Children and teenagers do not have fully developed brains, and alcohol can alter development by changing the way the brain works. Underage drinking commonly leads to legal trouble and is more likely to cause lifelong problems with alcoholism. Minor in possession of alcohol (MIP) is a misdemeanor charge in most parts of the country.
Open Container Law
Most states have laws that prohibit the presence of open bottles, cans, or other unsealed containers of alcohol. Public intoxication isn’t always easy to prove from a legal standpoint, but having an open container of alcohol is provable. Open container laws mainly apply to public places where alcohol is not permitted, and while riding in or operating a vehicle. The penalty for having an open container of alcohol can be anything from fines to a night in jail.
Alcohol-Related Violent Crimes
Violent crimes related to alcohol may include any type of assault, domestic abuse, child abuse, or homicide. Research shows that 42 percent of violent crimes reported to the police involved alcohol, although up to 51 percent of the victims believed that their perpetrator had been drinking.
Assault can be a violent physical or verbal attack or threat towards another person. Excessive alcohol causes many people to become irritable, hostile, and violent. The mixture of poor decision-making skills, impulsiveness, and aggressiveness that come with alcohol abuse is dangerous. Researchers estimate that 37 percent of assault offenders were under the influence of alcohol. Assault can have a range of legal repercussions, and may leave victims traumatized for life.
Sexual assault is a crime that involves any unwanted, forced, or non-consensual sexual contact with another person, which may include fondling, kissing, or intercourse. Sixty percent of sexual assault offenders were drinking alcohol at the time of the offense. The exact number of alcohol and sexual assault cases may vary due to unreported instances. Victims of sexual assault are often left traumatized, afraid, and ashamed.
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
Intimate partner violence, also known as domestic abuse, is any action that causes physical, psychological, emotional, or sexual harm to the other person in the relationship. Intimate partner violence is a type of assault. Up to 57 percent of men and 27 percent of women admitted to drinking alcohol before committing IPV. Many perpetrators of intimate partner violence use alcohol as an excuse for their behavior and make promises that it won’t happen again.
Child Abuse And Neglect
Abusing alcohol can impact a person’s children in many ways. Children need nurturing and caring environments for maturity and mental growth, but having a parent that abuses alcohol can put them at risk of abuse (verbal, physical, sexual) and neglect. Alcohol abuse can indirectly affect children as well. If a parent abuses alcohol to the point that they’re unable to meet their career demands, and lose their job as a result, they may not be able to provide for their family—which is neglect.
An intoxicated individual may be more likely to destroy public property, commit petty crime, and steal from others. Whether it’s to get money, alcohol, or something else that they want, a person under the influence of alcohol is more likely to make poor decisions. A person with antisocial personality disorder is believed to be more likely to commit robbery, and while under the influence of alcohol, that likelihood may increase. Robbery often carries a hefty punishment, which may include time in prison.
Not only is alcohol the most commonly abused drug in the country, there’s no drug that’s more frequently involved in homicide than alcohol. More than 17,000 people died from homicide in 2015, and up to 86 percent of homicide offenders were under the influence of alcohol while committing the crime. Alcohol can decrease a person’s attention level, which can also result in negligent homicide. Homicide carries one of the highest penalties out of any alcohol-related crime, including life in prison and execution.
Alcohol-Related Crimes, Trauma, And Alcoholism
Alcohol has been known to break families apart, often traumatizing children in the process. Many people who are the victim of violent crimes are left with a great deal of trauma. Sometimes childhood trauma is generational, and one-third of individuals who were abused or neglected in childhood will abuse their own children. It’s also common for people to try to cope with trauma by using alcohol, which increases their risk of developing alcoholism.
Some of the other most common alcohol-related crimes that increase the chance of alcoholism are:
- Child Abuse and Neglect
- Intimate Partner Violence
- Sexual Assault
Fight Alcohol-Related Crime With Addiction Treatment
Committing violent acts against others or taking part in risky criminal activity may be a result of underlying trauma or mental or environmental factors. A person suffering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD) may have an underlying mental disorder, which is referred to as a co-occurring disorder. A mental disorder can actually worsen AUD, and vice versa.
Alcohol treatment centers are experienced in dealing with post-trauma from alcohol-related crimes. Behavioral treatment can help both victim and perpetrator restore a healthy balance amidst the wreckage caused by alcohol. Alcohol-related crimes do not have to dictate the rest of a person’s life, and just as alcohol addiction is treatable, so is the pain caused by it.
Reach out to AlcoholTreatment.net to find freedom from alcohol.
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