A Mugshot Doesn’t Make You a Criminal

May 14, 2018

A Mugshot Doesn’t Make You a Criminal

We live in a society that likes to judge people for their mistakes. Unfortunately, it’s not difficult to get arrested for even the most minor charges in the US. But some states are stricter than others, which is why even a minor mistake could lead to a mugshot and the same treatment as a common criminal.

We’re going to explore some of the key differences between crime across the US and the consequences of that.

Some States are Stricter than Others

Driving violations are some of the most common offenses across the country. Arizona is an example of a state that treats drivers extremely harshly. In fact, Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country, with an 83% surcharge applied to speeding tickets.

Take the possession of marijuana as another example. California has completely decriminalized the possession of marijuana. Now imagine if that person stepped across the state line to Arizona and was pulled over. They would be criminalized and prosecuted for something that’s totally legal where they live.

These are just two of the differences that we have between states.

Is someone of a criminal just because they made a mistake of doing something that’s totally legal less than ten miles down the highway?

Racial Bias Comes into It

Everyone has heard of the racial bias when it comes to the way policing is conducted across the US.

One study was conducted into how speeding tickets are issued in Florida. Steeper fines are issued if you go 10mph or more over the limit, which is why lenient officers often issue tickets at the 9mph threshold.

However, a study indicated that black drivers are 3.8% less likely and Hispanic drivers are 14.8% less likely to be issued a speeding ticket at the 9mph threshold.

Let’s take another example from New York City.

Over a third of the city is made up of whites yet only 9% of them were arrested for low-level marijuana possession. Compare this with blacks and Hispanics, which make up 86% of arrests, even though they make up less than half of New York City.

And studies have shown no difference between how much the different races smoke pot.

There’s a serious disparity and it demonstrates how society judges based on stereotypes, particularly in the police force.

When is a Criminal Not a Criminal?

The way the US justice system works is that you can be charged and given a mugshot for minor offenses that would give you nothing more than a stern warning in most parts of the world.

Plus, you have to take into account the way the police target certain races and how lenient police are when someone has temporarily crossed a state border where something like pot hasn’t been legalized.

It goes to show that you can be judged as a common criminal despite doing nothing wrong.

Last Word – Tread Carefully

We all need to be aware of these perceptions and disparities if we’re going to change the way the justice system works in the US. Countless lawyers have been overwhelmed with requests for help in situations that should have never occurred in the first place. And things have to change.