Alcohol & Drug-Related Crime in Laguna Beach

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There is a deep and complex interrelationship between substance abuse and crime. With the most recent data from NSDUH 2021 showing that 46.3 million U.S. adults had addictions to alcohol or drugs in the previous year, both addictions and violent crime are on the rise in California.

The state of California initially took a hardline stance criminalizing even the most minor drug-related offenses. Decades later, state legislators broke precedent and removed many offenses associated with drugs from its books. Today we’re going to be taking a look at some of the alcohol and drug-related crime statistics in Laguna Beach, California specifically.

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Laguna Beach is an beautiful area of Southern California, boasting seven miles of stunning coastline and over 20,000 acres of protected wilderness. Regrettably, drug and alcohol related crime statistics show that the effects of substance abuse ripple far beyond the person abusing drink or drugs. Let’s take a closer look.

Drug-Related Crime

Drug-related crime in Laguna Beach, California can include: 

  • Possession of illegal drugs.
  • Sale of illegal drugs.
  • Distribution of illegal drugs.
  • Crimes associated with drug use.

State of California Department of Justice reports that the most commonly abused drugs in the Golden State are: 

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Meth

There is a pressing problem with opioid abuse in Laguna Beach and throughout California. Prescription opioids and synthetic opioids like fentanyl and its analogs are implicated in drug overdoses and crime throughout Orange County. Legislators in California have implemented various initiatives and programs to address drug-related crime and to connect those with substance abuse issues in Laguna Beach with the help they need to initiate their recoveries. 

Drug crime in Laguna Beach dates back to the 1960s. The Brotherhood of Eternal Love was a group of young adults from Anaheim who relocated to Laguna Beach with the aim of spreading its theology. The group pioneered the use of LSD, branding a version of the drug known as Orange Sunshine. 

Group leader John Griggs befriended counterculture figurehead Timothy Leary. Leary spent lots of time in Laguna Beach until he was arrested on Woodland Drive with over four pounds of marijuana. 

Today, the state of California has decriminalized possession of marijuana, and has also legalized the use of the drug for recreational purposes. 

From 1980 to 2010, correctional facilities in California swelled by 570%, despite the general population of the state increasing by only 57% in the same period. 

In a 2014 ballot initiative known as Proposition 47, offenses that were once cause for arrest were reclassified, eliminating overly harsh sentencing of first-time offenders and minor drug crimes. Drug possession felonies were reduced to misdemeanors. Prop 47 does not extend to individuals with prior convictions for serious or violent crimes. 

As an almost immediate result of Proposition 47, drug-related crime statistics started showing more positive data. Police departments in Laguna Beach and throughout the state of California reported a drop in arrests for drug offenses. An unfortunate by-product was an increase in property-related time, traditionally linked with drug abuse and addiction. 

An image of crime scene tape, symbolizing alcohol & drug related crime in Laguna Beach

Alcohol-Related Crime in Laguna Beach, CA

Alcohol-related crime in Laguna Beach can include: 

  • DUI (driving under the influence)
  • Public intoxication
  • Disorderly conduct

California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs reports that alcohol is a contributory factor in roughly half of all injuries, assaults, and homicides in the state. 

Alcohol is the leading factor in road traffic accidents and fatalities in Laguna Beach and throughout California. Resultantly, the state has implemented harsh laws and penalties for DUI offenses to reduce alcohol-related crime and to improve public safety. 

In 2016, Laguna Beach received grants from the ABC (California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) grant program to reduce alcohol-related crimes. This was partially prompted by a 41% increase in alcohol-related deaths in Orange County between 2000 and 2012. Alcohol is the most abused substance in Laguna Beach.

DUIs in Laguna Beach

If you are convicted of a DUI in Laguna Beach, California, sentences are among the severest in the United States. In addition to fines and court fees, you will face the suspension of your driver’s license and even potential jail time. Additionally, drink driving often triggers hidden costs, meaning that a DUI in Laguna Beach might cost you in excess of $10,000. 

You may be arrested for DUI in the city of Laguna Beach by: 

Here are some examples of the penalties for DUI convictions in Laguna Beach, CA: 

  1. First DUI conviction in Laguna Beach: Fine of $2,000, jail time of six months, license suspension of one year.
  2. Second DUI conviction in Laguna Beach: Fine of $2,500, jail time of one year, license suspension of two years.
  3. Third DUI conviction in Laguna Beach: Fine of $3,500, jail time of one year, license suspension of three years.

Partly due to campaigns like Know Your Limits, DUIs in Laguna Beach decreased from 623 in 2012 to just 330 in 2016. 

If you need help to address problematic patterns of drug or alcohol consumption, we can help you tackle the physical and psychological components of addiction here at California Detox in Laguna Beach.

coast of a beach in laguna beach, ca, where California Detox is located

Get Help with Addiction at California Detox

Whether you are addicted to alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription medications, we can help you initiate a lasting recovery here at California Detox in Laguna Beach. 

Before you engage with an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, you may find our supervised medical program helps you to streamline drug or alcohol withdrawal, preparing you for ongoing treatment. Choose from one of the following programs: 

Whatever level of treatment intensity is most appropriate for your needs, your treatment team will draw from the following interventions when personalizing your treatment plan: 

  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy (CBT and DBT)
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapy

Addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain condition. Accordingly, your treatment team will equip you with an aftercare plan that includes stepping down to a less intensive form of treatment for ongoing therapy, relapse management strategies, and coping techniques. We’re here to help you from detox to discharge and beyond at California Detox in Laguna Beach. Call 949.390.5377 for immediate assistance.


If you are convicted of a DUI in Laguna Beach, you may receive penalties that include fines and jail time, as well as a license suspension. The specific penalties will depend on factors such as your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level, any prior DUI convictions, and whether anyone sustained injuries in the accident. Typically, a first-time DUI conviction in Laguna Beach can lead to fines of $390 to $1,000, a 6-month license suspension, and potential jail time of between 48 hours and 6 months. Repeat offenses typically result in harsher penalties with higher fines, longer license suspensions, and longer jail sentences. If you are convicted of a DUI in Laguna Beach, you may have to attend DUI school. You may also be required to have an IID (ignition interlock device) installed on your vehicle.
Public Intoxication in California is classified as a misdemeanor. If convicted of public intoxication in Laguna Beach, you could face a fine of $1,000 and up to six months in county jail.


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