Drinking alcohol can increase the likelihood of legal trouble — whether you are a regular consumer or not. The more often you drink, the higher the chances that you could be involved in one of the many alcohol-related crimes. What are the risks?

Crimes that are the direct result of alcohol use

Some crimes are a direct consequence of drinking alcohol. Depending on the circumstances, the following crimes could impact your legal record:

  • Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)
  • Breaking open container laws
  • Minor in possession of alcohol
  • Minor falsely representing age to obtain alcohol
  • Minor entering an establishment licensed to sell alcohol

Public intoxication is not illegal in Wisconsin. However, you could still face criminal charges relating to disorderly activity or conduct.

Crimes that are commonly associated with alcohol use

Other crimes may not directly involve alcohol, but are often correlated with alcohol use. For example, many people become either aggressive or negligent under the influence of alcohol. These types of behaviors may contribute to:

  • Domestic violence
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Child abuse
  • Child neglect
  • Sexual assault
  • Homicide
  • Robbery and burglary
  • Disorderly conduct

Increased alcohol consumption increases the risks

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse, now officially called “alcohol use disorder,” can range from mild to severe. These terms are used to define someone who drinks alcohol excessively — not necessarily someone who is completely dependent on alcohol.

“Functional” or “high-functioning” alcoholics for example, may have a family, appear happy and be financially stable. However, drinking more than the daily or weekly limit still heightens your risk of being involved in health or criminal issues.

Alcohol abuse for women is generally defined as consuming either more than three drinks per day or seven drinks per week. Alcohol abuse for men is generally defined as consuming either more than four drinks per day or 14 drinks per week.

If you plan on drinking alcohol, be careful to avoid any activities that could result in criminal charges.