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Study finds more people detained, convicted

Texas residents who are detained and convicted of even minor crimes may find a reduction in their earnings over a lifetime. According to a study that appeared in Crime and Delinquency, even though overall crime is on the decline, young people today are more likely to be taken into custody and convicted than in previous generations.

One reason for this rise is an increase in the number of people detained and convicted for minor offenses. More than 10% of women detained and 16% of men are charged with underage drinking. Furthermore, while black men remain the demographic most likely to be charged, convicted and incarcerated, women and white men are catching up to them. Rates for women being taken into custody have risen from one in 100 to one in seven. The rate for white man is three times higher than in the past.

People who are taken into custody are less likely to marry, and their career and educational opportunities may also narrow. When people are incarcerated, they are less likely to acquire valuable job skills. Many employers do not want to hire people with a record. Over a lifetime, people who are taken into custody once before the age of 26 earn $5,000 less per year than those who are not detained. Multiple incidents leads to $8,000 less in annual income.

One or more drunk driving offenses could have a similar effect. Some people could lose their jobs with even one conviction for drunk driving. There may also be additional repercussions, including fines and jail time. People who are facing charges for drunk driving might assume that there are few defenses available, but an attorney may suggest several strategies. One of them could be challenging the traffic stop itself on the basis that it was made without the required reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed.

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