Nine Out Of Ten Heavy Drinkers Are Not Alcoholics

According to an article published today in the New York Times, most people who drink to excess are not alcoholics.  A government survey of 138,100 adults showed that 90% of people who drink to much are not addicts and “can change their behavior with a little–or perhaps a lot of–prompting”.

Twenty-Nine percent of the population engages in “excessive drinking” which is defined as “drinking too much at one time or over the course of a week”.  For men, excessive drinking is defined as having five or more drinks at one sitting or 15 or more drinks during the week.  For women, excessive drinking is defined as having four drinks at a single sitting or eight drinks over one week.

But 90 percent of those individuals who engage in excessive drinking do not meet the definition of alcoholism-included impairment, which includes past failed attempts to stop drinking and withdrawal symptoms.  According to Dr. Robert D. Brewer, who leads the alcohol at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the survey is good news because while excessive drinking is still a challenging problem, it is “not as difficult to address as alcohol addiction can be”.

According to Dr. Brewer, “We need to think about other strategies to address these people who are drinking to much but who are not addicted to alcohol.”

Minneapolis DWI Lawyer, F. T. Sessoms explains that one way the Minnesota Legislature has dealt with the issue is to dramatically increase the criminal penalties for anyone arrested for a Minnesota DWI offense, specifically:

The Current Criminal Penalties for a Minnesota DWI are:

A first offense in Minnesota of .08% or more but less than .20%, constitutes a misdemeanor with a potential maximum sentence of 90 days in jail or a $1000.00 fine or both.

A first offense over .20% or a first offense refusal constitutes a gross misdemeanor offense with a potential maximum sentence of one year in jail or a $3,000.00 fine or both.

A second offense within ten years or various aggravated driving offenses are also gross misdemeanors with minimum mandatory jail sentences ranging from 30 days on up.

For example:

If this is your second DWI offense in 10 years: The mandatory minimum sentence is 30 days.

If this is your third DWI offense in 10 years: The mandatory minimum sentence is 90 days.

If this is your fourth DWI offense in 10 years: The mandatory minimum sentence is 180 days.

If this is your fifth DWI offense in 10 years: The mandatory minimum sentence is one year.

It is a felony to get four DWI’s in 10 years and the maximum sentence for felony DWI is seven years in prison. In addition, the court can order a fine of up to $14,000.00.

For answers to all of your Minnesota DWI and DUI questions, please call Minneapolis DWI Lawyer F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 today.