(Guest post re US criminal law) When people drink too much alcohol, it adversely affects both their physical and mental functions. In many cases, they often do things that they would not otherwise do including breaking the law. While most alcohol-related crimes are classified as misdemeanors, some of them can be quite serious and even fatal.
Drinking and Driving
Drinking and driving can be extremely dangerous, even if you have only had one drink. When you choose to drive after drinking, you not only risk your life, but you put passengers, other drivers and pedestrians in harm’s way as well. Depending upon which state you live in, this charge is known as either driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated.
All states in the U.S. consider drinking and driving as a serious offense. In fact, a DUI can be considered a felony if you get in an accident and hurt someone. It can also be considered a felony if it is your second or third offense. While some states require officers to conduct a sobriety test before arresting drunken drivers, some do not.
Alcohol and Minors
For you to purchase alcohol or drink it in public, you must be at least 21 years old. This is true for all 50 states in the U.S. Many states allow minors to drink while they are at home or on other private property, but they must have their parent’s consent.
If parents allow their children to drink, they are held liable for the minors’ actions. However, there are some states that only hold parents liable if they allow their children to drink and drive. It is essential to note that it is illegal in all 50 states to sell alcohol to anyone under 21 years old.
Public drunkenness, or public intoxication, is a misdemeanor in all 50 states. What this means, is that if you get drunk while you are in a public place, you can get arrested if your behavior gets out of hand. Typically, police officers can arrest you for public intoxication if they feel that you are a danger to yourself or people around you.
Statistics have shown that there is often a direct link between alcohol and domestic violence. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with drinking and getting drunk in your home, if you happen to get out of control and hurt one of your family members, it becomes a crime. Consequences for domestic violence can include counseling classes, fines, probation and/or jail time.
Laws pertaining to crimes and alcohol can be quite confusing, and every case is different from the next. With that said, it is best for you to consult a criminal attorney should you get charged with an alcohol-related crime. Professionals can guide you through the legal process and settle your case in the best way possible.
This blog post was furnished by the Law Office of James Alston. James Alston is a former assistant district attorney who now works to preserve the rights of criminal defendants in the Houston area.