Alcohol: The Legal Drug Involved in Many Crimes

January 12th, 2018 by Attorney Dan Carman

Crime in Kentucky is often thought to be connected to illegal drugs. Just the possession of some substances is a crime, and being convicted of the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs can carry heavy penalties. But you may be surprised at the number of crimes that are alcohol-related, above and beyond driving while intoxicated. This legal drug often reduces or eliminates inhibitions of people; many of us who are sensible while sober can lose control and become violent when under the influence of alcohol.

January 22-28 is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, meant to educate the public on the dangers of alcohol and drugs. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence offers these facts about crime and alcohol:

  • Alcohol and drugs are connected to about 80% of offenses leading to incarceration in the United States.
  • Alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes.
  • 37% of almost two million convicted offenders currently in jail state that they were drinking at the time of their arrest, according to a Department of Justice survey.
  • Alcohol, more than any illegal drug, is associated with violent crimes, including murder, rape, assault, child and spousal abuse.
  • Among violent crimes, except robberies, the offender is far more likely to have been drinking than to be under the influence of other, illegal drugs.
  • About three million violent crimes happen annually in which victims believe the offender had been drinking.
  • About half of all homicides and assaults are committed when the offender, victim or both were drinking.
  • Each year more than 600,000 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who was drinking.
  • 95% of violent crime on college campuses involves the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim or both.
  • 90% of acquaintance rape and sexual assault on college campuses involves the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim or both.

Alcohol is often a factor when the attacker and the victim know each other.

  • Two-thirds of victims who were attacked by an intimate (a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend) report that alcohol was involved.
  • Only 31% of victimizations by strangers are alcohol-related.
  • Every year about a half million violent incidents between intimates involve attackers who had been drinking.
  • About 118,000 incidents of family violence (excluding spouses) involve alcohol, as do 744,000 incidents among acquaintances.

Alcohol is available; taxes on it help fund the government; and bourbon is a major industry in Kentucky. That doesn’t mean it’s harmless. There are many people in jail whose crimes were lubricated with alcohol. If you or a family member is a problem drinker, get help before it’s too late. If you get behind the wheel while intoxicated, you risk harming yourself and others — and an arrest for DUI. If your self-control is weakened enough by alcohol, you could also commit another serious crime you might regret for the rest of your life.

If you’re under investigation or have been accused of a crime and have questions about how the law might apply to your situation, discuss it with one of the attorneys at the Carman Law Firm, based in Lexington, Kentucky. As criminal defense attorneys with years of experience, we offer thorough, skilled representation. Call today at (859) 838-1415 or fill out this online contact form to find out how we can help you.