More Americans are getting arrested for petty crimes

Arrests can ruin lives. According to a study published in the journal Crime & Delinquency, people in Georgia and around the country who have been arrested once by age 26 earn around $5,000 less each year than those with clean records. Meanwhile, people who have had multiple arrests by age 26 earn around $13,000 less per year. In addition, those with criminal records have more trouble landing jobs and getting married.

Even though the U.S. crime rate has been trending downward for decades, more Americans are getting arrested than in the past. The same study found that U.S. adults between the ages of 26 and 35 were 3.6 times more likely to have been taken into custody at least once before the age of 26 than people who are over the age of 66. Overall, 23% of Americans born between 1979 and 1988 have a criminal record, compared to just 6.4% of those born prior to 1949.

The study found that many of the arrests were for low-level crimes. Only 28% of all arrests for women and 19% of all arrests for men were for serious crimes like assaults, robberies and thefts. In comparison, 31% of arrests for women and 28% of arrests for men were for "other misdemeanor" offenses, 11% of arrests for women and 16% of arrests for men were for underage drinking and 8% of arrests for women and 9% of arrests for men were for drug crimes. According to experts, the increase in arrests is thought to be linked to an increase in enforcement.

Individuals facing charges for misdemeanors and other low-level crimes could turn to a criminal defense attorney for help. After looking over the evidence, the attorney might be able to develop a strong defense against the accusations and challenge the prosecution's case, which could cause the charges to be reduced or dismissed.

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