Aggressive Representation

The hazy link between addiction and impaired driving

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2019 | Firm News |

There is a fine line between enjoying alcohol and becoming dependent on it. You could drink day after day or even binge drink at a party without really having any kind of addiction or dependency issue. For other people, they can go weeks without drinking and still fall right back into an unhealthy routine the first time alcohol touches their lips.

Given how ubiquitous alcohol is in modern American culture, many people underestimate the severity of their issue, in part because they often have an excuse for their alcohol consumption. They were just going out with their co-workers or attending a mandatory holiday party. For many people, it is only when confronted with serious consequences for their behavior that they start to question whether their relationship with alcohol is, in fact, healthy.

Many people in Louisiana don’t stop to think about whether they might have a substance abuse problem until they find themselves facing some kind of consequence, such as a pending impaired driving charge. If you or someone you love is currently awaiting court for driving under the influence of alcohol, it might be time to review whether substance abuse is an issue that needs to be addressed.

A one-time mistake isn’t necessarily evidence of addiction

Anyone could find themselves in the difficult position of trying to decide between leaving their vehicle behind and driving home after having overindulged at a bar or social gathering. Just because someone makes the wrong decision and chooses to drive while still under the influence doesn’t inherently mean that they have an addiction to alcohol.

It might be that they overestimated their ability to drive or underestimated the effect of the alcohol on their body. However, individuals who repeatedly make the same mistake, such as those charged with a second or third impaired driving offense, could have a problem that they need help to address. Those facing DUI charges need to be honest with themselves about their relationship with alcohol.

The Louisiana courts often intervene to help repeat alcohol offenders

If someone faces a second or subsequent impaired driving charge, it is likely that the courts will require a substance abuse or addiction assessment as part of their criminal proceedings. A professional will analyze self-reported information to determine if addiction is an issue. In some cases, the courts may also mandate that the individual charged with repeat offenses undergo alcohol addiction counseling or even a driving course.

However, it’s important that individuals understand that simply completing court-mandated therapy won’t necessarily fix an alcohol problem. The person undergoing treatment has to feel committed to the outcome and work toward improving their own behavior. That is why the state also takes other measures to deter repeat offenders, including mandating the installation of an ignition interlock device in certain cases.