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Violent crime is down but convictions still on the rise

A research brief from the RAND Corporation claims that more people are being arrested and convicted before turning 26 than in previous generations. This statistic is causing concern among some justice reform advocates as convicted criminals in Texas and throughout the country have less access to educational opportunities, jobs and earning power.

Figures for people who are detained and convicted are on the rise despite the fact that crime has been on a downward trajectory for some time. From 2017 to 2018, violent crime went down 3.3%. Since 1993, violent crime has been reduced by half. The rise in people being taken into custody is largely due to petty violations. Around 8% of all women taken into custody and 9% of all men are detained because of drug offenses, and the percentages are even higher for underage drinking. The likelihood of being detained and taken into custody remains disproportionately high for black men, but women and white men are catching up.

In addition to a reduced likelihood of getting married, people who have faced convictions tend to earn less when the incident occurs before the age of 26. With one incident, a convicted criminal earns an average of $5,000 less each year. Multiple incidents can mean an additional $3,000 drop in annual earnings.

For these reasons, it's important to avoid conviction when possible even for misdemeanors. Depending on the circumstances of the case, an attorney may have several suggestions for defense. In some cases, the best strategy is to go to trial. In other situations, it's possible to work out a deal in which charges are reduced. An attorney could seek to have charges dismissed if there was any irregularity in the process, such as an illegal search and seizure.

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