What is the Relationship Between Alcohol and Crime?
There are links between alcohol and crime that are both direct and indirect. Someone who abuses alcohol or has an alcohol use disorder may find themselves facing legal trouble. These legal problems can result from being drunk in inappropriate situations or behaving differently due to the influence of alcohol.
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How Are Alcohol and Crime Related?
As mentioned above, with alcohol and crime, there are both direct and indirect correlations. Directly, you might be charged with a crime because you have been drinking. The most common direct crime related to alcohol misuse is driving under the influence or DUI. If you abuse alcohol, you are more likely to be charged with DUI or something like public intoxication.
Indirectly, when you drink, it lowers your inhibition and your judgment. This puts you at a higher risk of committing any number of crimes, such as violent crimes or theft. Below, specific crimes related to alcohol misuse and alcohol addiction are covered in more detail.
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Alcohol Use and Crimes That are Directly Related
The following are examples of crimes directly related to alcohol use.
Driving Under the Influence and Driving While Intoxicated
DUI and DWI are two crimes directly related to alcohol use. Among the crimes committed under the influence of alcohol, these are the most common. If you drive or operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, it can be dangerous or deadly. You can kill or injure yourself or others.
Among all crimes directly related to alcohol use, the penalties for driving under the influence can be most severe. You may have to pay steep fines. Additionally, you could lose your driver’s license and/or face jail time.
If you are drunk in public, you may become disruptive and belligerent. Along with being a disturbance, this can be dangerous to others. It is illegal in most places to be visibly intoxicated in public.
There are laws in many states and local jurisdictions preventing people from consuming alcohol in public places and automobiles.
Crimes Indirectly Associated with Alcohol
Unfortunately, some of the crimes that are indirectly linked to alcohol use can be even more damaging than direct crimes. When you drink alcohol, it can lead you to make poor decisions and alter your behavior in a negative way. Due to raised levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, you may be more impulsive. It becomes difficult to recognize or understand the consequences of your action.
Alcohol also depresses the activity of your prefrontal cortex, which is the part of your brain that helps you make rational, well-thought-out decisions. Essentially, you may act without thinking about what you are doing. The prefrontal cortex of the brain is also responsible for controlling your emotions and behavior. You may not be able to control your emotions. An emotion like anger could become heightened when you are under the influence of alcohol, leading you to behave aggressively or violently.
You may be more likely to hurt someone or yourself, to have violent outbursts, or even to take part in unsafe sexual encounters. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcohol is a factor in an estimated 40% of all violent crimes in the United States. You are also more likely to be a victim of a crime when you are under the influence.
Indirect crimes linked to alcohol use include the following:
Assault in the legal sense is a threat of an attack or an actual attack. Assault is one of the most common crimes committed under the use of alcohol. Anywhere from 25 to 50% of assaults likely involve alcohol.
Alcohol can make people angry and irritable, and this can lead to violence. The impulse control problem of alcohol use makes it more like a person would follow through on angry impulses or thoughts.
Domestic violence is also known as intimate partner violence. This is violence in a relationship leading to physical, emotional, mental, or sexual harm to someone else. Many studies have shown relationships between domestic and intimate partner violence and alcohol abuse.
The majority of people who engage in intimate partner violence have substance abuse issues, including alcohol dependence. Sometimes these perpetrators of violence will use alcohol to justify or excuse their behaviors.
Child Neglect and Abuse
Unfortunately, child abuse can be linked to the abuse of alcohol. Along with the effects of being under the influence itself, alcohol abuse can also cause stress, financial problems, and issues in other relationships. These are all things that can make child abuse more likely.
Around four in 10 people who abuse children admit to being under the influence when committing abuse.
Robbery and property-related crimes can be associated with alcohol use for several reasons. First, if you are addicted to alcohol, you might commit criminal actions to get money to fuel your addiction or to make up for the financial problems you are experiencing. You might also commit robbery or property crimes because you aren’t thinking clearly when under the influence.
Sexual assault is forced sexual activities, which can include a variety of behaviors, such as touching, kissing, or intercourse. Around 37% of sexual assaults and rape cases involve being under the influence of alcohol. Additionally, someone under the influence of alcohol may be more forceful in their sexual advances and more violent if someone attempts to resist.
Alcohol is the most frequently involved substance in homicides in the United States. Around 40% of convicted murderers consumed alcohol before or during their crime.
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Avoiding Alcohol and Crime
When someone is addicted to alcohol, multiple components of their life may start to fall apart quickly. If you commit a crime and are under the influence of alcohol, it can cause you to lose your job, lose custody of your children and face financial difficulties. Whether you have already found yourself in legal trouble or not, if you think you have an alcohol problem, contact Resurgence Behavioral Health.
We can help you begin to put together the pieces of your life once again. It is our goal to help you overcome your addiction so that you can return to your life prepared to deal with the challenges you face. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, with our intensive, personalized treatment programs, you can begin working to put yourself on the road to recovery.
If you are worried about paying for treatment, our team of compassionate experts can help verify your insurance coverage. Contact Resurgence today to get started on the path to recovery.