skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 122274 Find in a Library
Title: Proposal for Considering Intoxication at Sentencing Hearings: Part I
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:53  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1989)  Pages:3-11
Author(s): C J Felker
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Unlike the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which recommended that judges not reduce a presumptive sentence because of the offender's drug or alcohol dependence, this article proposes a dual perspective: that intoxication be a mitigating factor at sentencing if it impaired the offender's ability to determine right from wrong, but as an aggravating factor if intoxication has repeatedly resulted in criminal conduct.
Abstract: The criminal justice system deals with intoxicated offenders in each of a series of discretionary decisions: whether a police officer will arrest an offender, whether a prosecutor will allow him to plead guilty to a lesser charge, and whether his defense will try to use intoxication as a basis for an acquittal. These factors impact on the length and nature of the offender's sentence. Four basic policy questions should determine whether the sentence should be more lenient or more severe for intoxicated offenders. The first, whether substance abuse contributes directly to crime, can be answered yes. The second concerns intoxication as a voluntary conduct. Despite the disease model of alcoholism, the judicial perspective, as endorsed by the Supreme Court, is that while alcoholism is a deeply entrenched way of life, alcoholics can legitimately be punished for criminal behavior and that alcoholism associated with that behavior can be an aggravating sentencing factor. The prospects for treatment is the third policy consideration. Studies indicate that alcoholics who undergo treatment have a good chance of success and that even forced treatment may be effective; only a small minority who do not undergo treatment will recover. And fourthly, the purpose of sentencing -- deterrence, incapacitation, retribution, and rehabilitation -- should influence and inform policies dealing with the sentencing of intoxicated offenders. 74 notes.
Main Term(s): Drunk offenders; Sentencing factors
Index Term(s): Judicial discretion
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.