Did You Make a New Year’s Resolution to Quit Drinking?

A DUI arrest may surprise the casual drinker. That happened to my client Linda. She is not a big drinker but several years ago she had two glasses of wine while out to dinner. She drank those glasses over the hour-long dinner and thought she was fine to drive. She exited the parking lot onto PCH and got stopped because she failed to use her turn signal. Linda is a small woman and those two glasses of wine put her just over the BAC limit of 0.08%. She was shocked when she got arrested for driving under the influence.

But this post is not about Linda. This post is about most of the DUI clients that come to my office: almost all suffer from alcohol abuse to some degree or another.

Perhaps that is you. And perhaps you have resolved to address your drinking with the new year … as perhaps you have done at the beginning of previous new years. The task may seem overwhelming…how to admit you may have a problem, where to start? For some people, the barrier is the belief that they must quit drinking altogether and that is not something they desire. The prevailing wisdom for many years has been that any alcohol abuse is a sign of alcoholism and the only way to conquer alcoholism is abstinence from alcohol. In recent years, that paradigm is being questioned.

Studies have shown that “controlled drinking” combined with support services, such as therapy or non-abstinent recovery, can be just as effective in addressing problem drinking as abstinence. Controlled drinking won’t work for everyone, but for many, who otherwise would not have meaningfully addressed their drinking because they didn’t want to quit drinking altogether, controlled drinking is a realistic treatment alternative that can turn the problem drinker into a moderate drinker… and one who can abstain from drinking too much when he or she will be getting behind the wheel.

Controlled drinking approaches to alcohol use disorder is a promising new treatment and is gaining acceptance in the therapeutic disciplines. It may prove to be a viable treatment option that offers hope for those individuals who have not sought help for their drinking because they believed their only option was to stop drinking altogether.

Sometimes it is that first DUI that motivates the individual to address their drinking.  My goal is to achieve the best legal outcome for my DUI clients, but I also encourage them to make whatever changes in their life to make sure it doesn’t happen again. A first DUI, while a legal and financial pain, is not anywhere near as serious as a second and certainly a third DUI (within ten years). As an experienced DUI lawyer and depending upon the circumstances (especially the driver’s BAC and previous driving/criminal history), I often negotiate a plea bargain for my clients that end in a reduced charge or reduced sentencing.

Orange County DUI attorney William Weinberg is available for a complimentary consultation regarding your DUI arrest or prosecution. He may be reached at his Irvine office at 949-474-8008 or by emailing him at bill@williamweinberg.com.

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