Alcohol abuse refers to the early stages of alcohol dependence. During this period, the drinker begins to show signs of problematic use of alcoholic beverages, such as poor performance at work or school or problems meeting personal obligations. The alcohol abuser may put him/herself in dangerous situations while under the influence of alcohol, such as driving under the influence (DUI) and may have already had an alcohol-related legal problem, such as a DUI or a disorderly conduct charge. Alcohol abuse includes having experienced negative consequences due to drinking that occurred within a 12-month period. If alcohol abuse continues, the person is at risk for alcohol dependence.