More people face convictions although crime is down

New Jersey residents are more likely to be arrested and convicted of crimes than in the past, but this is not because crime is on the rise. Instead, there is a rise in taking people into custody for petty crimes, including underage drinking. Even one conviction can have a significant effect on a person’s future, affecting their ability to go into certain lines of work and leading to an average annual drop in earnings compared to those who have never faced a criminal conviction.

According to a study that recently appeared in Crime & Delinquency, more Americans are being taken into custody and convicted by the age of 26 than previous generations. This is despite the fact that violent crime has been cut in half since the early 1990s and more than 3% from 2017 to 2018. Among those detained, “other misdemeanors” is the reason for almost one-third of women and more than 25% of men. While black men remain the most likely demographic to be taken into custody, numbers are also rising for both women and white men.

People who have been detained are less likely to get married. If it happens before the age of 26, the person on average earns $5,000 less annually than someone who has not been taken into custody. The discrepancy goes to $8,000 less if there are multiple arrests.

As these figures demonstrate, being charged and convicted of even a relatively minor offense can have significant consequences beyond the initial punishment. Therefore, the accused may want to discuss options for criminal defense with an attorney. It may be possible to reach an agreement in which the charges are reduced or dropped. Another option could be looking at the evidence and procedure and whether the defendant’s rights were violated. In some cases, the defendant might want to go to trial.