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Legal Consequences of Addiction

Clinically Reviewed By Dan Schimmel, LCSW, CAP
Updated On

Regardless to if you have lived a life of crime or are a law-abiding citizen if you fall victim to drug addiction, legal problems could quickly come to follow. Reports show that nearly half of American who are arrested test positive for illicit drugs. The U.S. Department of Justice states that drug abuse is tied to robbery, property crimes, domestic violence and sexual offenses.

Driving Under The Influence

Driving under the influence is one of the most common crimes associate with addiction. Using drugs or alcohol slows brain function, distorts your vision and inhibits your response time. These effects can greatly increase your risk of being in a car accident, putting your life and the lives of others on the road at risk.

Many people feel they are still in control of their bodies and that it is safe for them to drive. However even being slightly over the legal limit of .08 BAC increases your risk 7 times of being in a car accident that harms himself or someone else. Those with a BAC level of .15 are at a risk of 25 times greater.

Each state has their own laws, however if you are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a BAC level of .08 or above you will be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Domestic Violence

Drugs and alcohol often bring out the ba in people. Their judge is affected and are unable to control their behavior as they would if they were sober. Many people high on drugs or drunk commit domestic violence crimes, hurting those they are close to.

  • an estimated 25 to 50 percent of acts of domestic violence are committed by men with drug or alcohol problems.
  • women who are abused are 15 times more likely to abuse alcohol and 9 times more likely to abuse drugs.
  • 80 percent of child abuse cases are a result of an adult abusing drugs or alcohol.
  • In violent crimes such as rape, the assailants typically test positive for drugs or alcohol.

Those who commit crimes of domestic violence face a wide array of legal consequences; time in jail, probation, child abuse reports and potential removal of children from home, and registry as sex offender.

Prescription Fraud

Along with the rise of prescription drug abuse there’s a growing rise in prescription fraud. Many addicts will bounce from Doctor to doctor, pharmacy to pharmacy to gain scripts to opioids and other narcotics. Some may alter scripts to get larger quantities of the medication. Many of which will fraudulently write prescriptions in order to obtain prescription drugs for personal use and illegal sales. It is not uncommon for a prescription drug addict to steal medications from friends, family and even doctor’s offices and pharmacies.

For those who are convicted of prescription fraud face a felony charge, punishable by up to five years in prison. Some are able to negotiate drug rehabilitation or probation in lieu of jail time, however this is not a guarantee.


With the high price of drugs and strong cravings it’s not uncommon for addicts to turn to criminal activities such as burglary, grand larceny, and theft.
Those committing these crimes are held accountable in a court of law. Depending on the amount of the property stolen this could be a misdemeanor or felony charge.


Both men and women with drug and alcohol problems turn to prostitution as a way to fuel their habit. Reports show 40 to 85 percent of prostitutes have drug habits.many of which suffer from psychological and emotional trauma. They are also a high risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

Drug and alcohol abuse is thought to be responsible for the rise in crime rates throughout the nation. If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction contact a drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility today.

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