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The Relationship between Alcohol and Crime

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Alcohol and Crime

Many crimes happen because of alcohol.
Alcohol addiction is dangerous.
Alcohol can lead to crimes.

Alcohol-Related Crimes, Alcohol and Violence, Crimes That Commonly Lead to Alcoholism, Rehab is Your Best Chance

Alcohol abuse has a lot of different effects on a person’s mind and body. But it also affects the people living around them: their loved ones, their colleagues, and even society itself. In fact, alcohol and crime have a closely interconnected relationship.

Alcohol abuse is a contributing factor to many crimes. But it also works the other way around: some crimes can motivate alcohol abuse. The number, type, and severity of crimes are dramatically impacted by alcohol.

Alcohol abuse increases the likelihood that a person will commit certain crimes such as assault or homicide. This is because drinking reduces a person’s inhibitions and limits their ability to make good decisions. Under the influence of alcohol, individuals are more easily agitated or angered, which makes them more likely to commit violent crimes.

Conversely, people who have been the victims of crimes such as child or sexual abuse are more likely to develop alcohol use disorders later in life.


Alcohol severely impacts a person’s judgment, response time, and aggression. This can put the individual and others in extreme danger. This is why it is a crime to be intoxicated under certain circumstances. One common example is driving while intoxicated, also known as drunk driving.

Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is dangerous and often fatal. This is because drunk drivers are not capable of reacting quickly enough. They are also prone to making bad decisions. It puts many lives at risk: the driver, their passengers, and other people sharing the road.

The penalties associated with drunk driving are the most severe of any crime involving intoxication. It can even lead to jail time.

It is widely known that intoxicated people can be loud, aggressive, and even disruptive. To reduce the risk of crime and accidents caused by this behavior, certain jurisdictions limit alcohol use to designated areas such as restaurants, bars, and homes.

Minors can also suffer from the effects of early alcohol consumption, which is why the legal drinking age across most of the United States is 21. In a few jurisdictions, the legal drinking age is 18. It is a crime for anyone younger than the legal drinking age to possess alcohol. These offenses are particularly common in college towns.

Alcohol and Violence

Excessive alcohol intake makes a person belligerent, angry, and prone to violence. Interestingly, these effects can be magnified when other intoxicated people are present because they may antagonize each other. This combination makes it more likely for violent crimes to occur.

Out of all the violent crimes connected to alcohol, assault is arguably the most common. Assault is defined as a physical or verbal attack. It can also be a threat of an attack backed up by the ability to follow through with it.

Because alcohol reduces impulse control and increases anger levels, threats from an intoxicated person are more likely to end up as an act of violence. In fact, studies have shown that between 25 and to percent of assaults involve alcohol.

In some of the worst cases, intoxication may lead to homicides. No substance is involved in more homicides than alcohol. Roughly 40 percent of convicted murderers were under the influence of alcohol when they took someone else’s life.

A person who may have stopped an incident at aggravated assault while sober may continue the assault until it progresses to murder while drink. Alcohol not only increases aggression but also carelessness and distraction, which may sometimes lead to negligent homicide. Homicide carries the most severe penalties of any crime in most jurisdictions, including the death penalty.

Domestic violence is also closely related to alcohol abuse. Also known as intimate partner violence or IPV, this is an act of violence towards someone else in the relationship. The abuse may be physical, mental, emotional, or sexual harm towards the partner.



A significant number of perpetrators of intimate partner violence have alcohol dependence or alcohol use disorder. Furthermore, the level of alcohol abuse often correlates with the frequency, severity, and timing of the abuse. It is also common for perpetrators to blame their actions on alcohol.

Another violent crime that has a close relationship with alcohol abuse is sexual assault. Any forced, unwelcome, and/or non-consensual sexual act is considered sexual assault. This includes touching, kissing, and intercourse, among others. If it is the victim who is under the influence of alcohol, then it is still considered sexual assault.

Between 30 and 40 percent of reported sexual assaults, including rapes, are committed by a perpetrator under the influence of alcohol. This number does not account for unreported sexual assaults, which suggests that this percentage is much higher. Some sexual offenders try to use alcohol as an excuse or defense for their actions.

Crimes That Commonly Lead to Alcoholism

The connection between alcohol and crime goes both ways. Alcohol may make a person more likely to commit crimes, but being the victim of a crime may also lead to alcoholism. Many crimes create powerful and long-lasting emotional and mental impacts, which is why victims may try to cope with the use of alcohol.

These effects may deeply scar a person, cause anxiety, low self-esteem, and feelings of worthlessness. Many victims even experience post-traumatic stress disorder. They turn to alcohol to try and forget or cope with their situation.

Here are some of the crimes that commonly lead to alcoholism later in life: child abuse and neglect, sexual assault, assault, robbery and burglary, and intimate partner violence.

If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.

Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.

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