According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in 2011 there were 3991.1 arrests for every 100,000 people living in America. When you do the math, it comes out to approximately 1 in 25 Americans being arrested in a single year.
Additionally, the FBI reported that the arrest rate for violent crime was only 172 per 100,000. For property-related crimes, it was 531.
In other words, 1 in 33 Americans were arrested in 2011 for crimes that did not involve violence against another person, theft, or damage to property.
More Americans were arrested for drug crimes than any other type of crime. The statistic comes out to about 1 in every 207 Americans!
Furthermore, 1 in every 258 Americans was arrested for drunk driving. The remaining offenses are not identified, but it is quite likely that they were for crimes like disorderly conduct, prostitution, public intoxication, vandalism and miscellaneous minor offenses.
People have been claiming for some time now that the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy has quotas that encouraging false arrests. With statistics like these—juxtaposed to how many individuals actually end up convicted—it seems very tough to disprove such claims.
Also, arrests can be damaging, even if they never result in criminal charges. In most cases they will appear on your criminal record, which can be referenced every time you apply for a job, mortgage, or line of credit. An arrest can also prevent you from obtaining a passport or visa, getting certain types of professional licenses, and even adopting children. Beyond all of these practical costs is the social stigma an arrest comes along with.
Lastly, trying to sue a police officer for false arrest is quite difficult to do. The deck is essentially stacked against you since officers usually are given more deference than they really deserve. Even if you do have a great attorney and make a good case, litigation takes years and who knows how many other false arrests that very officer is making in the interim.
Ultimately, in a world where 4% of all Americans are arrested, it is absolutely vital to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help protect your legal rights and innocence.