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The rippling effects of arrest and conviction

Some Maryland residents may have seen firsthand the effect that increased incarceration rates can have on a community. Although the incarceration rate in the United States has diminished slightly in recent years, there is no country on the planet that has an incarceration rate as high as the United States.

This has is led to some people questioning why arrest rates have increased in the United States although crime rates have been consistently dropping. For example, only 6.4% of Americans born prior to 1949 have ever been arrested. However, 23% of Americans born between the years of 1979 and 1988 have been arrested. This means that Americans who are currently between the ages of 26 and 35 are 3.6 times more likely to have been arrested by time they reach the age of 26 than Americans who are currently 66 years of age and older.

Arrest and conviction can negatively impact a person's life. Studies show that individuals who have been arrested at least once time by the time they reach the age of 26 earn on average $5,000 less per year than adults of the same age who were never arrested or convicted. That number goes up to $8,000 if an individual has received multiple arrests by the time they reach 26 years of age. Over a person's lifetime, this means that they could potentially lose between $180,000 and $275,000.

When a person is arrested and convicted, their employment opportunities shrink. Time spent incarcerated limits work experience and work skills, and many employers prefer to hire people who have clean records. Many job licenses require that people have no convictions.

A criminal defense attorney may be able to help an individual who has been charged with a crime. Criminal defense attorneys are not simply for innocent people nor are they just for guilty people. They serve an important role in the criminal justice system, which works on the presumption of innocence.

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