The Aftermath of Addiction: The Legal Consequences That Follow

Addiction is a struggle that a number of individuals are faced with on a daily basis—whether it be alcohol, drugs, or both—as it affects their personal life, work life, and a number of other aspects and areas of their lives. For, they not only begin to lose their sense of self, but may find themselves experiencing a loss in their surroundings—such as; family, friends, job, etc. However, what many fail to realize is the effect it can have on them legally as well, if steps aren’t taken ahead of time to help them towards recovery.

First and foremost is alcohol, which can cause a series of problems in relationships, and behind the wheel. For, a number of domestic abuse incidents happen in the midst of such. In relation, domestic abuse is defined as, “violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.” We oftentimes see an example of this when one has been drinking because alcohol reduces our ability to think straight. Therefore, when we begin to consume it in excess (to the point of intoxication), we lose the ability to think how we normally would—with a sober mind, and/or consciousness. As a result of such, this can cause aggression to take place within one’s partner, and vice versa, simply by a misinterpretation of a social cue, and other such factors.

Secondly, individuals can face great legal consequences if they make the drunk-minded decision to drink, and get behind the wheel. Through doing such, he/she not only puts his/her life in jeopardy, but the lives of others. For, they can begin to misinterpret the speed that they are going, and take away the life of another. This can cause great grief for that other person’s family, leaving the individual himself/herself with jail time due to the death of another. However, these are only some of the legal consequences that one is faced with when he/she drinks; the consequences of drug use are similar.

When individuals consume drugs—no matter the kind—they begin to not only harm their body physically through the use of such, but experience financial pitfalls. Despite popular belief, while those who are faced with an addiction to drugs may find themselves giving up whatever money—and/or assets—they have to obtain such, financial downfalls also happen through the legal consequences of losing one’s driver’s license, revoking one’s professional license, and/or a criminal records (which can detail specific things such as one’s arrest, his/her jail time, and his/her history of drug abuse). This, in turn, can cause hardship to take place in the individual’s life by prohibiting them from obtaining a job.

In conclusion, alcohol and drug abuse are something that can cause great severity in the lives of those who are faced with such. Therefore, it is best that one gets help before it is too late. It is then that individuals who are struggling with addiction can allow themselves the opportunity to heal through recovery, and get their life back, rather than losing all the people they hold dear, along with their assets.

Seized Assets

addict seized assetsAddiction affects people negatively in a number of ways, not the least of which is when the law steps in to sort out their poor decision making. One unfortunate way that addicts may feel the full extent of their irresponsibility is by having their assets seized. Addicts do not put themselves in the position to handle money properly. Often times their addiction is costing them a great deal of money, and they do not budget for it because it exceeds a budget in importance. Either that or they are simply so lost in their addiction that paying their bills is no longer on their radar.  Either way, they are at great risk of having their belongings repossessed due to poor money management. Some of the possessions that addicts frequently have repossessed are as follows:

  • House. An addict’s house is an asset that is, unfortunately, frequently lost to their addiction. A house is the biggest investment the average person makes in their lifetime, which means no other investment is jeopardized as gravely by addiction. Even a mild to moderate addiction can distract a person from the responsibility of proper budgeting in order to finance their home investment.
  • Car. The second biggest expense the average person takes on is a vehicle. The idealized standard for automobile ownership in Canada and the United States is one vehicle per adult. This means a person needs to be responsible enough to finance a vehicle and care for it in order to be a functional vehicle owner. Sadly, this often proves to be too great a responsibility for many addicts and their vehicles are repossessed.
  • Boat. A boat is a luxury to the average person, however, a large number of addicts are much more white collar than many people realize. A number of addicts are in an income bracket that can afford them a boat, but this does not mean they are necessarily able to retain it. A possession such as a boat is something that is frequently repossessed due to mismanaged money.

Other Known Violations

addict illegalityBeing addicted does not work toward an addict’s benefit in anyway. Addiction damages lives universally, and never affects them positively. Not all addicts feel the consequences of their actions through the legal system, but these are certainly the lucky ones. An addict can easily wind up in trouble with the law if they become so consumed by their addiction that they check out of obligatory adult responsibilities. They may be sentenced to jail time or required to complete an addiction recovery facility program. Some of the ways a person can end up in trouble with the law through their addiction are as follows:

  • Substance restrictions. If a person is addicted to using illegal substances, such as cocaine or heroine, they obviously can face legal consequences for possession of the illegal narcotics. In some jurisdictions, there are also legal penalties for being found to be in possession of prescription medications illegally. Legal penalties may range from misdemeanor financial charges to extended jail time.
  • Substance abuse. Abusing a substance illegally, such as becoming intoxicated and operating a vehicle, can be a way that illegality enters addiction. Most addicts use the substance they are addicted to inappropriately, but those who become truly reckless use it in a way that is breaking the law. The penalties can have serious consequences on the addict’s life. In the case of driving under the influence, manslaughter can easily occur and sentence the addict to years in prison.
  • Most jurisdictions have gambling laws, and many of them place restrictions on where, when, with how much and how often people can gamble. Gambling in person is required to be done in designated gambling locations, such as in casinos, which stay open during set hours.  Gambling online has different restrictions on it, which limit the amount and the frequency with which one can gamble. Some jurisdictions even forbid gambling online. For compulsive gamblers, this can present a serious problem.
  • Sex solicitation laws are another legal area that addicts often get themselves in trouble over. There are only a small number of jurisdictions in the United States and Canada that permit legal prostitution. Everywhere else, sex is sold on the black market. Frequently, raids or undercover jobs reveal people who are paying for sex, who are then held accountable to the law.

Debt Collection

legal debt collectionThere is almost no type of addiction that does not damage your finances. A vast majority of addictions cost money. Drugs and alcohol are expensive, food can be expensive, a gambling addiction is based on handing money over and even a sex addiction can be costly for some in pornography and prostitute expenses. It is not uncommon for addicts to have their addiction exposed as a result of their inability to manage money. Someone who is legitimately addicted is willing to invest a great deal of their money into their addiction, and for some, it catches up to them in the form of debt collection.

  • For some addicts, retribution for their money mismanagement comes in the form of a lawsuit. Often, a public or private parties will take legal recourse against a person who has failed to pay bills, child support or make other required financial contributions. Some addicts think their behavior will go unnoticed, but a lawsuit comes as a stern reminder that this is not the case.
  • Collection services are the most common financial reminders that addicts receive. It is difficult for some people to imagine, but addicts will actually become so focused on the object of their addiction that paying bills and expenses will become a non-reality to them. In their financial devotion to their addiction, they neglect their actual financial responsibilities so grossly that those they owe money to hand them over to a debt collection agency.
  • Addicts may be pursued for their financial short comings through a number of legal service forms. This may include subpoenas, court orders, invoices or any variety of legal collection initiatives. It is common for addicts to believe a false notion that their addiction only affects themselves. This mentality hurts the addict’s relationships, health and reputations immensely, but if that were not enough, it also severely damages their finances.

Child Protection

legal protection for childAddiction is harmful to the addict and to those who depend on the addict for provision, contributions or affection. However, in most situations, legal bodies do not enter the situation to tell the addict to change their ways. This can change quickly when an addict becomes so lost in their addiction that they are not upholding their end of a legally binding contract. For example, when an addict is a parent of a young child and the addict’s harmful behavior is endangering the child, the law will step in. Addicts may think they are free to wallow in their addiction as much as they want, but when they are parents, the law will eventually hold them responsible. Several of the ways that an addicted parent may be held legally responsible for their actions are as follows:

  • Child support. It does not matter if a parent is an addict or not, they are still financially responsible for their child. If both parents work and provide an income for their dependents, they are both legally financially responsible for them. If only one parent provides an income for their dependants, they are legally financially responsible for them. It is very common for a person afflicted with an addiction to become inadequate at providing an income for their dependants, either because they invest all their money into their addiction or because they cannot hold employment due to the irresponsibility that their addiction causes them to have.
  • Abuse or neglect. Child abuse and neglect can appear in many forms, however, addicted parents are statistically more likely to commit this type of offense that non-addicted parents. Signs of neglect may include malnutrition or lack of hygiene in children. Abuse is obviously detected by noticeable injuries and strange behavior in children. While abuse and neglect are not direct byproducts of addiction, they can be strongly related to it.