Issues in Criminal Law: Substance Abuse Problems

Posted on in Criminal Law

alcohol offenders, Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney, criminal behavior, drug offenders, prescription drug use, substance abuse problemsAcross the country, in every state, jail cells are filled and stiff penalties are given every single day for offenses related to drugs and alcohol. Drug and alcohol offenders are notorious for being repeat offenders, and this can lead to complicated legal problems that carry large fines and possible extended (and in some cases permanent) incarceration. Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of inmates in state prisons and 70 percent of federal inmates have a history of substance abuse problems.

With a wave of prescription drug use and abuse sweeping the nation, the drug epidemic has never been more complex. Often the association of criminal behavior and substance abuse is explained by the dichotomy between drug defined offenses and drug-related offenses. Drug defined offenses are considered to be directly related to drug laws and the nature of the drug industry. Drug related offenses are infractions committed while under the influence of substances.

This is often the difference between someone committing an offense with the intent to profit off of the drug industry and a person committing an offense because he or she was simply not in the state of mind to adequately make decisions. The issue can get vague with the addition of addiction. Surveys suggest that 80 percent of people arrested for possessing and selling drugs tested positive for at least one illicit substance at the time of the arrest.

The major issues have less to do with the drug crimes themselves, but more to do with the underlying causes for the crime. Suspension of license, fines, arrest, or any other type of punishment will never cure a problem caused by addiction. Even worse, when mental illness is thrown into the mix, problems can become significantly more complicated. It is natural that mental illness and substance abuse is linked to each other, and it thus makes a medically ill population at risk for crossing paths with law enforcement. Driving under the influence is a commonly seen problem with people addicted to substances, but other charges such as possession, distribution, and theft can be just as common. However, those charges carry stiffer penalties.

If you are suffering from a criminal law matter in Illinois, caused by substance abuse problems, it is important to choose a professional and experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney. Contact Scott F. Anderson Attorney at Law for a free initial consultation today.