Many veterans in Tennessee and across the country are dealing with difficult emotional or even physical issues, and those problems can sometimes manifest in excessive drinking or drunk driving. One study by the American Addiction Centers found that binge drinking and driving while intoxicated have become more common among military veterans in the past several years. The study used behavioral data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to examine these incidents and the potential emotional and physical trauma that could be linked to increased alcohol use.
In 2017, rates of binge drinking among veterans climbed to nearly 16 percent from approximately 14 percent four years before. Binge drinking is defined as having more than five drinks in two hours for men or four drinks in the same period for women. In addition, the research found that while the overall increase was around 1.6 percent, the increase for female veterans was 3 percent.
The study also examined drunk driving, which can be linked to binge drinking or miscalculating the amount of alcohol consumed. In 2014, around 1.6 percent of veterans were identified as driving under the influence, but that percentage increased to 2.5 percent in 2016. Men were almost a full percentage point more likely to drive drunk than women. In some states, legislation has been proposed to allow veterans to avoid conviction on DUI charges, especially because many people may be experiencing the aftereffects of their military service.
A drunk driving conviction can make a person's life very difficult, even if it was a first-time incident. People could lose their driver's license and their ability to maintain their work, school or family obligations as a result. A criminal defense lawyer may help people facing DUI charges to put forward a strong defense and seek to avoid a conviction.