Florida veterans concerned about drunk driving charges should know they are not alone. According to a study by the American Addiction Centers, in recent years, both binge drinking and drunk driving have become far more common among the U.S. veteran population. The study looked closely at the reasons for the spike and determined that emotional and physical trauma is largely to blame for this type of substance abuse.

According to the study, veteran rates of binge drinking have climbed an average of nearly 2 percent over a four-year period. Binge consumption among female veterans increased by nearly 3 percent. However, rates of drunk driving were much higher among male veterans. In the same time period, the percentage of veterans charged with drunk driving increased nearly 1 percent. Veteran drunk driving was the most severe in Washington, D.C., Kentucky and California. Alaska, Utah and Virginia were the three states with the lowest rates.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a significant factor in these drunk driving incidents. For example, among all the veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, studies show that between 11 to 20 percent suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Some studies claim the number is closer to 30 percent. According to research, depression associated with PTSD is one of the most significant factors in binge consumption among veterans. The American Addiction Centers study found that veterans suffering from depression were more than two times as likely to be charged with a DUI than those who did not have mental health issues.

In the event of a DUI, an attorney with experience in drunk driving defense may be able to obtain an acquittal or a lesser sentence. For example, the lawyer might prove that the driver was intoxicated as a result of untreated depression or PTSD, which may result in rehab instead of a harsher sentence.

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