The Federal Bureau of Investigation compiles statistics annually from crime data it collects from local and state law enforcement agencies. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report is an analysis of criminal behavior over a given year. Crimes are divided into three main types: crimes against persons, crimes against property and crimes against society. The data are also divided in terms of the seriousness of the crime and the type of crime. A misdemeanor, for example, means that the perpetrator is sentenced to a year or less in jail. A felony, by contrast, results in a perpetrator being sentenced to more than a year in prison. Read on for some information about the most common crimes committed in the United States.
In 2012 the most common crime included in the study was larceny, with 1.7 million reported incidents. Larceny is usually classified as a misdemeanor property crime. However, grand larceny, stealing expensive property such as a car or a yacht, can be charged as a felony. The value of the property as well as any prior record would determine whether the charge was a misdemeanor or a felony. Examples of larceny or theft range from a child stealing another kid’s bike to automobile theft to shoplifting from a department store.
Assault, like larceny, is a fairly broad category that includes different levels of seriousness, from misdemeanor to felony. Ripping a cell phone out of someone’s hand, for example, as well as hitting someone with a blunt object like a hammer, are both considered forms of assault. The latter is a serious felony that some jurisdictions would term “assault with a deadly weapon.” Over a million assaults were reported to police in 2012, but most did not rise to the level of “assault with a deadly weapon.” More common examples include minor bar fights and domestic disputes that got a little out of hand.
More than 790,000 incidents of vandalism were reported in the U.S. in 2012. Vandalism is a broad category of property crime that includes a lot of different offenses. They range from people breaking windows, keying cars, spray painting billboards and even damaging websites. Depending on the value of the property damaged a person could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Narcotics offenses are the fourth most common type of crime with almost 600,000 incidents reported in 2012. Along with crimes like gambling, pornography and prostitution, offenses involving drugs are usually classified as crimes against society. The charges stemming from drug crimes can vary widely from a misdemeanor for possession of a joint to a serious felony for selling heroine.
Criminal Justice System
Larceny, assault, vandalism and narcotics offenses are only four of the many crimes that can get someone entangled in the criminal justice system. Committing a crime can get you arrested by the police who will inform you of your rights and take you into custody. The charges are officially read at an arraignment in court. Your legal counsel and the state’s prosecutor may try to negotiate a plea bargain so a trial can be avoided.
This article was written by Robert Tritter, an aspiring lawyer who hopes to help you understand the law better. Currently an undergraduate, he hopes to get into a prestigious law school in order to get a good start on a career as a lawyer. He writes this on behalf of Chernoff Law, an assault attorney in Houston, Texas. Check out their website today and see how they can help you get the justice you deserve! With experience in related cases, they are sure to give you the best service possible.