Addicted man in handcuffs with bottle of alcoholic drink at table against blurred background, closeup

The Dangers of Alcohol Addiction

A 2021 survey found that 219.2 million people aged 12 and older (or over 78% of people in the age bracket) had consumed alcohol at some point in their lives. While this includes one-time alcohol consumption, it also illuminates how commonplace alcohol is in our culture and our lives. Many adults are able to control their alcohol consumption, but many others struggle and experience the dangers of alcohol addiction firsthand. What are some of the potential legal consequences of alcohol addiction?


Health Consequences


Before diving into the legal dangers of alcohol addiction, you should also consider the health consequences. Excessive drinking led to over 140,000 deaths from 2015 to 2019 in the United States, and it also led to a projected 3.6 million years of potential life loss. Many people who are binge drinkers don’t realize how little it takes to be a binge drinker, as a woman drinking 4 or more drinks during a single occasion and a man drinking 5 or more drinks on a single occasion is considered binge drinking.


Aside from years of life lost and the potential for death, alcohol addiction can also lead to accidents, like falls, that can lead to temporary or permanent injury. Overdosing is also a real risk, as drinking too much alcohol can suppress your heart rate and breathing and lead to a coma or death. There are also mental health consequences of excessive alcohol consumption that can stick with you forever.


DUIs or DWIs


Two of the most common legal dangers of alcohol addiction are DWIs and DUIs. Drinking and driving is a very serious problem throughout the United States. In 2021 in the United States, approximately 13,400 people were killed in accidents that involved a driver with a BAC of .08 or greater—and that figure does not include crashes that ended with only injuries and crashes involving drivers who were under the influence of alcohol but who had a BAC under .08.


Aside from injuries and physical consequences of an accident, a DWI or DUI can also make your life more challenging employment-wise and socially. Your driving privileges may be revoked, and it can limit the industries that you can work in. When you are dealing with alcohol addiction, choosing the right attorney to represent you is critical so that you can get the treatment that you need and stop alcoholism from having a permanent effect on your life.


Violent Crime


Alcohol and alcohol addiction are also common factors in violent crime cases. Because alcohol affects your mental state and ability to think clearly, it can make you act in ways that you would not normally act. A variety of studies and researchers have correlated alcohol abuse with domestic violence, sexual violence, robberies, and homicide. In the United States, alcohol is a factor in a whopping 40% of domestic violence cases—and it can also impact the intensity of the violence. When you are struggling to deal with alcohol addiction, it can lead to serious legal consequences for violent crime.


Workplace Consequences


The dangers of alcohol addiction also cross over into the workplace. Having a DUI or DWI on your record can jeopardize your employment, depending on the conditions of your contract. For example, if you work with heavy equipment or are a school bus driver, your conviction or arrest could lead to a firing.


Additionally, there are workplace consequences for showing up intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol. In the federal government, you are subject to the Drug-Free Workplace Act, which means that you cannot consume alcohol or drugs in the workplace. Some states also prohibit the consumption of alcohol on the clock at restaurants, clubs, and bars. Many companies have policies explicitly preventing employees from working under the influence, so showing up intoxicated can lead to termination.


Partner with Atkinson Law. We’ll Take Care of You Like Family


At Atkinson Law, we listen to all our clients and protect their interests so they can receive a positive legal outcome.  We’ll work with you and give you the best possible recommendation for your future. To learn more about the potential legal dangers of alcohol addiction, contact us today by calling (410) 882-9595 or visiting our website.