Domestic Violence and Alcohol

Many times domestic violence or DV charges are brought out of situations in which one or both of the parties may be under the influence of alcohol (or drugs). In some cases alcohol abuse or dependency may be the root cause of serious and problematic arguments and disagreements. In other cases, there may be false implications that alcohol was a factor in an alleged offense.

Allegations of alcohol or drug use add an additional layer of complexity onto a DV or DVHAN case. If there is evidence that the domestic violence laws have been violated, the prosecutor or the Court may want to incorporate drug or alcohol treatment into any diversion program or sentence. In other situations, individuals may actually be more vigorously prosecuted by the police based on concerns that their substance abuse will cause them to commit more offenses in the future.

Alcohol or drug use may create a situation in which either the alleged victim or the defendant may not have a clear recollection of the events or complaints leading up to the arrest. It is possible in South Carolina to go to trial for domestic violence even when all of the witnesses may have no independent recollection of what actually transpired. The State's "no drop" policy still applies even in cases where the alleged victim was intoxicated.

Examples of circumstances common in improper DV arrests include:

  • Intoxication may cause a "household member" to become overly agitated and enraged over a simple disagreement or feelings of jealousy. They may in turn use allegations of domestic abuse to 911 or law enforcement in an effort to "get back" or win the argument.
  • Law enforcement may respond to a report of a domestic disturbance. Upon arrival if they find the alleged offender under the influence they may be automatically arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence with no further investigation.
  • An individual who is under the influence who is questioned by law enforcement regarding allegations of domestic violence may be unable to offer a satisfactory explanation of the circumstances due to their impairment. This may result in an arrest for domestic violence.

When the original complaint or report is made to 911 or law enforcement by an individual under the influence of alcohol or drugs it can have serious consequences. A situation where no arrest is warranted may result in an arrest for DV. A situation where the genuine allegations may legitimately result in minor charges may result in a felony DVHAN arrest (carries up to 20 years imprisonment). This is due to the fact that alcohol or drug intoxication impaired the ability (or desire) to clearly and accurate recollect and communicate events or complaints to law enforcement.

If you or a loved one has been charged with criminal domestic violence in South Carolina you owe it to yourself to obtain the services of an experienced attorney. James Snell is familiar with domestic violence law and procedure, and has represented clients in cases with allegations of alcohol or drug intoxication.

Mental Health and Alcohol

Many people self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Domestic violence arrests can result from situations in which that alcohol or drugs combines with the mental health condition. When someone is seriously depressed, delusional, or having a psychotic break, mixing in alcohol or drugs can be like throwing gasoline on a lit fire.


Contact a CDV Defense Attorney Today

To discuss your case with our office schedule an appointment by calling (888) 302-5840. Initial appointments are provided on a confidential and no cost basis. They are held at our office located at 123 Harmon Street, in downtown Lexington.

If you have been recently arrested for criminal domestic violence a good place to start your understanding of this offense is by reading our frequently asked questions about DV. We represent clients in the Lexington County CDV Court, the Richland County CDV Court and other South Carolina criminal Courts.

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