Even if you don't watch the television program "COPS," you might wonder the most common reasons people get arrested.  Well, you're in luck because the FBI reports on just that topic!  According to the FBI/DOJ Report, Crime in the United States 2008, there were about 14 million arrests last year.  There were more arrests for property crimes than any other crime - about 1.7 million arrests.  Theft ranks next on the list after property crimes, ranking in at an estimated 1.2 million arrests or so.  Here is the chart from the FBI website:

Estimated Number of Arrests
United States, 2008
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter12,955
Forcible rape22,584
Aggravated assault429,969
Motor vehicle theft98,035
Violent crime2594,911
Property crime21,687,345
Other assaults1,298,342
Forgery and counterfeiting90,127
Stolen property; buying, receiving, possessing111,319
Weapons; carrying, possessing, etc.179,661
Prostitution and commercialized vice75,004
Sex offenses (except forcible rape and prostitution)79,914
Drug abuse violations1,702,537
Offenses against the family and children118,419
Driving under the influence1,483,396
Liquor laws625,939
Disorderly conduct685,985
All other offenses3,835,083
Curfew and loitering law violations133,063


  • 1 Does not include suspicion.
  • 2 Violent crimes are offenses of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crimes are offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
  • If you've been charged with a crime, you need to protect your legal rights.  Consult an attorney as soon as possible regarding the charges, the circumstances of your arrest, and the facts of your case.  You have the right to have a lawyer present during any questioning.  A criminal defense attorney can advise you about your rights, what the prosecution must prove in order to convict you of the offense charged, and how the evidence in your case will likely impact the result.  An attorney can also help negotiate a favorable plea bargain and advocate for the most favorable sentencing for any conviction.  For more information about being charged with a crime, or to find a criminal defense attorney, visit LawInfo's Legal Resource Center or search for an attorney in your area using our attorney directory.