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AIBU

to think alcohol use should not be a mitigation when a crime is committed?

(34 Posts)
M0nica Tue 20-Aug-19 20:27:13

The papers today reported the court proceedings of the louts who broke into a school and destroyed model railway kits laid out for an exhibition. They did £30,000 of damage.

One of the solicitors for the louts pleaded in mitigation that they had managed to buy and consume a lot of vodka before their rampage and his client would never have done the damage if he had been sober.

This excuse 'I only did it because I was drunk' comes up so often in mitigation pleas. Surely the consumption of alcohol should be an aggravating factor that earns a higher sentence, not excuses a crime.

Get drunk if you want to, but if when drunk you are stupid enough to commit a crime, well that means your sentence is increased by 20%. Getting drunk, is never an excuse for wanton vandalism or violence and the courts should not treat it as such.

Elegran Tue 20-Aug-19 20:39:38

What was the decision of the court as a whole? (not the solicitors for the drunken louts, trying to make them out to be nice lads deceived by the demon drink - which they must have consumed quite voluntarily and with the intention of getting blootered), because if the excuse was accepted, then that is reason to condemn the courts.

Alima Tue 20-Aug-19 20:40:06

I agree with you. It was bad enough what those selfish idiots did. Would being drunk have been pleaded in mitigation if someone had been attacked/murdered? Anyone could commit any crime and say it wasn’t them it was the booze.

EllanVannin Tue 20-Aug-19 20:44:10

It's the same when drugs are involved. It gets on my nerves each time I see this as an excuse for certain behaviour.

Jimjam1 Tue 20-Aug-19 20:49:24

All down to choice. End of.

jura2 Tue 20-Aug-19 20:50:34

NO excuse

FarNorth Tue 20-Aug-19 21:06:59

It's their own choice to get in that state.
Harsh judgements based on alcohol being involved might cause a bit of caution among such stupid people.

M0nica Tue 20-Aug-19 21:14:32

I do not think it was acceptedin this case, but I have read of judges accepting that the accused was otherwise of good character and would not have done what they did if they had not been drunk, so instead of getting 6 months inside, which was the normal sentence for the crime, they get it suspended with community work instead.

I think there sould be a mandatory hike in the sentence if the accused was not in their right mind because they had chosen to drink, take drugs, or indulge in other high risk behaviour that led to the crime.

MawB Tue 20-Aug-19 21:18:20

That’s like saying two wrongs make a right isn’t it?
They should not have been drunk on vodka and they should not have gone on the rampage.
I am with you M0nica - it should earn a higher sentence not be a mitigating factor.
The world is a sad and contrary place.

rafichagran Tue 20-Aug-19 22:58:38

Agree,not a mitigating factor.

Doodledog Wed 28-Aug-19 23:20:30

I don't think it should necessarily be a mitigating factor; but I do think that someone with addiction problems should be helped to get over them. Not always instead of punishment, but sometimes as part of them.

In the case of a serious crime, with victims who have been hurt, then the detox should happen in jail (with medical supervision); but if not, then I think a community sentence with compulsory therapy is more appropriate.

From what I understand, a lot of people who go to jail with no addiction problems come out addicted, so it will presumably be worse for those who are already on drugs or alcoholic.

I think that it shouldn't be the case that an addict is given a more lenient sentence than a non-addict committing the same crime; but addiction should be taken into consideration and treated (as far as possible) to prevent recidivism.

MissAdventure Wed 28-Aug-19 23:35:42

My friends ex husband literally fell out of his work van and into a heap on the floor when a policeman stopped him.
His excuse?
"I was drunk".

Beckett Thu 29-Aug-19 08:16:06

I get annoyed when someone who has committed a crime says they only did it because they were drunk. Alcohol does not change who you are, it merely removes inhibitions which allows the real person to emerge.

Willynilly Thu 29-Aug-19 08:18:31

Alcohol is considered both aggravating and mitigating for the purposes of sentencing, depending on the offender, the type of offence and the circumstances of its commission.

aggie Thu 29-Aug-19 08:20:03

Good point Becket

Anniebach Thu 29-Aug-19 08:28:51

Alchol if an addiction does change who you are,

annep1 Thu 29-Aug-19 09:18:55

People are aware of the effects of alcohol. Sentence should be hiked imo for those under the influence.

Alcoholism is a more difficult issue.

EllanVannin Thu 29-Aug-19 09:52:14

Yes, annpl, alcoholics are more often than not registered as such.
It's the wanton damage /crimes committed by those who use alcohol as a trigger for their crime who I have no time/sympathy for. They're just yobs, purely and simply.Pests

Nonnie Thu 29-Aug-19 10:23:58

I think Doodle has made a valid point. It has to be different for an addict, they need help. I don't believe anyone chooses to be an addict, they surely all think they can handle it in the first instance. No, I don't understand how it works, I have a very low alcohol threshold so it couldn't happen to me!

Normal drunkenness should of course be punished in a way to make the person learn from their actions.

M0nica Thu 29-Aug-19 10:48:53

I see no reason at all why an alcoholic should be treated more leniently than any other person who commits a crime when drunk.

The extra punishment they get may be just the trigger they need to make an effort to break the pattern. In addition an extra period of community service or prison will give thse ble to help them longer to do so.

annep1 Thu 29-Aug-19 10:55:42

I think the sentence should be hiked for drunkenness but not alcoholism. But treatment should be part of the sentence for alcoholics.

McGilchrist41 Thu 29-Aug-19 10:58:06

Many criminals take the alcohol to give them the confidence to commit the crime and it is a deliberate act and definitely not an excuse.

Anniebach Thu 29-Aug-19 10:59:48

To say alcohol allows the real person to emerge is not true of all who drink.

M0nica Thu 29-Aug-19 11:03:53

Alcohol does not reveal the 'real' person in anybody. All it does is reduce natural inhibitons in everyone, so that they do and say things that they have the wisdom to keep to themselves when sober.

annep1 Thu 29-Aug-19 11:18:05

Well it definitely does reduce inhibitions in a lot of people.

Sometimes I think the world would be a better place without alcohol.
It wrecks families and is the cause of so much crime.