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The link between addiction and criminal charges

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Addiction is one of the most common possible causes of criminal actions. Understanding how addiction may lead to instances of criminal wrongdoing can help both those who are struggling with substance abuse, and their loved ones, better understand why seeking personalized guidance and assistance as proactively as possible can be beneficial.

Addiction can significantly increase the likelihood of engaging in criminal activities, often as a direct consequence of the need to support the substance abuse habit. Individuals struggling with addiction may find themselves turning to illegal activities such as theft, burglary or drug trafficking as a means to get drugs or alcohol.

This direct link is rooted in the desperation and impaired judgment that often accompany addiction. These challenges may lead to behaviors that individuals might consider only because of their dependency on substances.

Drug possession and related offenses

One of the most straightforward ways addiction leads to criminal charges is through the possession, use or distribution of illegal substances. Maryland strict laws against drug possession, and those caught with illegal substances can face significant legal penalties, including fines, probation or imprisonment.

For individuals with addiction, the risk of being charged with possession or other drug-related offenses is high, given the nature of their dependency. The involvement in manufacturing or distributing drugs exacerbates legal consequences and deepens the cycle of addiction.

Impact on decision-making and behavior

Addiction profoundly affects an individual’s decision-making processes and behavior, increasing the likelihood of engaging in risky or illegal activities. Substance abuse can impair judgment, reduce self-control and increase impulsivity, leading to actions such as driving under the influence (DUI), public intoxication or engaging in violent behavior. These actions can result in criminal charges that carry severe penalties.

While participation in Drug Court isn’t guaranteed, it’s an option worth pursuing for many defendants. When addiction is the cause of someone’s charges, mitigation of the penalties in case of a conviction may enable that person to get the help they need to rehabilitate from the substances and live a life away from the criminal justice system.