If you end up in prison once, you are more likely to do so again. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the chance you do so within five years of your release from the first charge is just under 46%.
Even if you do not return to prison, there is a good chance you will be arrested again. The five-year probability of that is a massive 71%. There are likely various reasons for this. Here are two possible ones:
The police have you on their radar
Once you get a criminal record, you will show up sooner when the police search their databases for a list of people who might have carried out a crime.
You will also become known to the individual officers in your area, and some may harbor suspicions about whether prison “reformed you” or whether crime is in your blood. Hence, they may be quicker to stop and search you than they were when you had never been convicted of a crime.
Some people make contacts in prison that lead to more crime
When in prison, the only other people to talk to are those who have also been convicted of crimes. Hence you will leave knowing more about criminal activities than when you entered. Some people decide to take that knowledge and put it to use, which will cause those statistics to rise if they are caught.
In other cases, it is about survival. The only way some people can survive is with the protection of established criminals who expect some kind of favor in return for their benevolence once the person is released.
Regardless, the statistics are undeniable. If you are not convicted in the first place, you are less likely to face arrest and possible incarceration a second time. What’s more, judges usually consider the previous history when issuing sentences, so a prior offense could increase the sentence for a second offense. Hence getting legal help to fight a first charge, however minor, is a wise long-term investment.