The Relationship Between Domestic Violence And Alcohol

A Hartford, Connecticut woman recently died after her ex-boyfriend came to her apartment and killed her. Before the ex-boyfriend came over, police said that he smoked crack cocaine and drank alcohol. The man then went to her the woman’s apartment and brutally stabbed her death.

The woman's brother commented that people need to realize that domestic violence is real, and “we know there are the signs, but we need to realize that everybody has a role to play in this….” The man has been charged with murder and is being held in jail on a $2 million bond.

Does Alcohol Increase Incidents Of Domestic Violence?

Too often, there are stories in the news like these that involve incidents of alcohol and domestic violence. Given the frequency in which these stories appear in the news, the public starts to associate alcohol as the cause of domestic violence incidents. 

For example, Canyon, Texas residents just recently approved the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premises consumption and the legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders. While residents overwhelmingly approved the change, some residents did not support the change. Rev. Glen Stocklher, pastor of Bible Believers Baptist Church, believes that that the change “will increase the crime rate as far as domestic violence, probably some public intoxication, and those sort of things.”

Is this true? Does alcohol in fact cause or contribute to the frequency of domestic violence incidents? Or, has the public developed a false connection between alcohol and domestic violence? Research and various articles suggest both.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says that while substance abuse does not cause domestic violence, there is a statistical correlation between the two issues. Regular alcohol abuse is apparently one of the leading risk factors for domestic violence. At the same time, however, the NCADV says “no evidence suggests a causal relationship between substance abuse and domestic violence.” Therefore, if one is treated for alcoholism, this will not necessarily cure one’s abusive behavior. Nevertheless, the NCADV suggests that because of this relationship, both issues should be treated simultaneously.

The relationship between alcohol and domestic violence may come more from the experience and expectations from drinking, rather than the physiological effects of alcohol. In an article from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, research shows that individual men are more likely to engage in boisterous or aggressive behaviors when under the influence than when sober because the cultural norms condition this male behavior. This leads to the conclusion that men are therefore more likely to engage in physical violence or domestic violence while drinking.

Texas Law On Domestic Violence

Under Texas law, family or dating violence is a crime. Family violence includes the act of a family member against another “that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.”

The definition of dating violence includes the same acts as family violence. The difference, however, is what constitutes a dating relationship. A “dating relationship” means one “between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.” It does not include “a casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context.”

The penalty for family or dating violence depends on the nature and severity of the conduct. A charge can range from a simple assault Class A misdemeanor to an aggravated felony charge. If you have been charged with in a domestic violence incident, a Texas domestic violence attorney can help you with your case.


Grandmother Charged With Intoxication Manslaughter After Granddaughter Dies In Car Accident

A Chandler grandmother has been arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter following the death of her 5-year-old granddaughter during a car accident in July. The accident occurred a few miles outside of the Tyler city limits around 10:00 p.m. The grandmother, driving a Chevy Tahoe, apparently lost control, crossed the roadway and struck a tree.

The only other passenger in the car was the 5-year-old granddaughter. Following the accident, emergency officials transported the grandmother and the child to the hospital. The grandmother remained in stable condition. Tragically, the 5-year-old died the following day from injuries sustained in the crash.

Grandmother arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter

Troopers who investigated the accident said that the grandmother operated the car at unsafe speeds in the wet road conditions. The speed limit in the area is 35 miles per hour. One Texas trooper who arrived at the scene stated, “[t]here was reasonable suspicion to believe the driver was indeed drinking, there was the smell of alcohol.”

While the grandmother was in the hospital’s intensive care unit, police drew blood in order to determine her blood alcohol content. The tests revealed that the grandmother had a blood alcohol content of .154, which is well in excess of Texas’s legal limit of .08. Investigators learned that earlier in the day before the crash, the grandmother attended her sister’s funeral and then went to a family gathering, where she had several alcoholic drinks. To make matters worse, the grandmother apparently had Xanax and marijuana in her system during the crash.

After Texas troopers completed their investigation, they called the grandmother to inform her that they had a warrant for her arrest. The grandmother’s response startled the officer: she was apparently rude and had no compassion about the situation. Even more surprising, however, is what one officer learned after looking at the grandmother’s Facebook profile. The grandmother had been making references on her Facebook page to drinking games involving alcohol.

Chandler police eventually arrested the grandmother after they located her and made a traffic stop. The grandmother remains in jail, subject to a $350,000 bond.

Intoxication Manslaughter under Texas law.

Under Texas law, a person commits intoxication manslaughter if the person operates a vehicle in a public and “is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.” Intoxication manslaughter is a second degree felony offense. A second degree felony is punishable by imprisonment for not less than 2 years and not more than 20 years. In addition, an intoxication manslaughter conviction can carry up to a $10,000 fine.