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Troubling statistics illustrate rising arrest rate

In Florida and across the country, an increasing number of Americans, especially young people, have been arrested. In fact, young people are much more likely to be arrested than they were in generations past. This comes despite the fact that violent crime has been dropping for decades. However, researchers note that while arrests may seem less necessary than in the past, police may be more likely to turn to arrests and criminal charges for relatively petty matters. Criminal arrests, charges and convictions can interfere with a person's ability to gain employment, education and housing for many years to come, so the increasing arrest rate is of concern to many.

According to a RAND Corporation research paper, people are more likely to be arrested before the age of 26. While only 6.4% of people born before 1949 have been arrested, 23% of those born between 1979 and 1988 can say the same. The majority of these arrests apparently do not involve violent crime or even property damage. It is not always clear what the charges are, but it is clear that the issues do not rise to the level of felony charges in many cases. For example, 28% of arrested men and 31% of arrested women are accused of "other misdemeanors," a catch-all category.

In addition, drug arrests are on the rise, including those involving cannabis despite a nationwide trend toward decriminalization or legalization. Another 11% of women's arrests and 16% of men's arrests involved accusations of underage drinking.

A criminal conviction can lead to heavy fines, jail time and other penalties that can hold people back throughout their lives. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help people charged with a crime to challenge the allegations of police and prosecutors before trial and in the courtroom.

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