Perhaps you’ve been arrested on a minor criminal charge. Your court date is coming soon and some people you talk to say it won’t matter if you have a good lawyer or not, since you’re an “upstanding citizen” and got your degree. The judge will probably go softer on you, they say. Is that really true?
Getting that degree will help you
A recent study of average jail time given to offenders was conducted that looked at education levels. After comparing over 100,000 findings, researchers found that those with high school degrees were less likely to be sent to jail by about 10%.
The study also noted that high school graduates received slightly shorter sentences than those who did not finish their degrees. A college degree had no effect on time served or if the person was sent to jail at all. These are slight differences, but they are worth noting.
Race, age and sex factor into the decision, too
Profiling according to race, age, and sex are not supposed to be part of the process when issuing a sentence, but statistics demonstrate that the judicial system does discriminate. Women are half as likely to head to jail for the same crime as men are.
Black and multiracial defendants have a significantly higher rate of incarceration when compared to whites. Asian offenders have the least punishment of all. And while sympathetic judges may not send a grandmother to jail, they won’t hesitate to force a young adult to endure a prison sentence.
If you are facing criminal charges, no matter how minor they might be, it will only benefit you to contact an experienced attorney able to help you fight unfair application of judicial discretion. When you listen to what those other people are saying, you are simply taking chances with your freedom.