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Have you ever wondered why many people are behind bars today? What's the first reason that comes to your mind? Drugs? Abuse? Contempt of court? Although these are some reasons to face incarceration, sometimes financial constraints might be the problem. So many people are unable to pay their bail and end up being in jail until they can. However, that doesn't make up the larger percentage of people in prison. This article will discuss 10 Biggest Reasons Why People End Up Going To Jail Or Prison.


The 10 different reasons why people go to jail or prison are:


Drug-Related Offenses

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Drug crimes are undoubtedly one of the major justifications for so many people in jail. Producing, smuggling, and selling illegal drugs has proven to be a very lucrative market over the years. There's a growing demand for different illegal drugs and it doesn't seem like it will go away any time soon. However, producing or selling illegal drugs isn't the only reason you could end up in jail. Possessing and using such drugs are also considered a crime and can lead to jail or prison time.


Physical Assault

Another reason why you can end up in jail is physical assault. Physical assault is primarily described as any situation that causes you to use force to harm someone. You might think you have to at least hit or injure someone before you can be charged. However, you don't necessarily have to touch them.


Threatening someone with a weapon or just verbally is considered assault in some cases. If you're found guilty of assault, you might end up serving some jail time and have a criminal record.


Violating Traffic Laws

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Don't get surprised just yet, you can't go to jail for running a red light or driving past the speed limit just once. This might leave you with a warning or a fine you have to pay depending how things go with the officer that pulled you over. However, if you repeatedly break these laws, it can cause you to do jail time.

Traffic offenses also include DUI (Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs), speeding and driving haphazardly, and a hit-and-run. You could end up with a suspended license, heavy fines, and possible jail or prison time.



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Stealing is another major and common reason why many people are serving jail or prison time today. Whether it's breaking into someone's house, shoplifting, or work-related robbery, they are all grounds for arrest. These crimes can lead you to serve serious jail or prison time and the duration or bail often depends on the value of what you may have stolen and the level of the offense.



This is a type of theft where someone takes another’s personal property without permission. The property could be money, car, or labor, and it's often associated with the crime of trespassing. This crime is regarded as a misdemeanor and might cause you to pay a fine and spend less than a year in jail.


Crimes Against The Law

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Another common reason why people end up in jail is committing offenses against the justice system. These could be offenses such as: failure to appear in court or court-mandated programs, obstructing justice, breach of probation, and perjury. Inmates who fall in this category may have broken the law prior.


Sexual Assault

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Engaging in any sexual activity or having sexual contact without someone’s consent is considered sexual assault. Rape, coercion, groping, and attempted rape all fall within this group, and can easily get you jail or prison time and a criminal record.


Cybercrimes / Fraud


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Cybercrimes are frauds that lead to theft done over the Internet. There are so many different types of fraud such as credit cards, investment scams, phishing, identity theft, etc. The jail or prison time you get from these forms of theft is usually determined by the value of what you stole. Cybercrimes typically are federal offenses that can be punishable with imprisonment for three years or less because the Internet is involved.


Disorderly Conduct

This type of crime refers to a circumstance where you are under the influence, loitering in restricted areas, or disturbing the peace. These crimes are misdemeanors and might cause you to pay a fine or perform some acts of community service. In severe cases, it could lead to restraining orders and probation.



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This is by far the worst reason to end up in jail because inmates who have committed this crime usually get life in prison. Although all the crimes mentioned above can cause you to go to jail or prison, murder will likely keep you in jail without bail until a criminal case is resolved.


Here are a few tips that can help people with minimizing or preventing any chances of going to jail or prison:


Be Responsible and Accountable

Accountability is the first step to healing and making sure you don't go to or back to jail or prison. By being accountable, you understand the reasons why you were sent to jail or prison and know you don't want to go back if you are released. Research has shown that over 76% of people that have been in jail usually end up going back. This could be due to a lack of support and resources and bad lifestyle choices. It's important to always be responsible and humble as this will help you be teachable. Attend therapy and timely check-in with your probation or parole officer.


Learn The Criminal Laws

One of the major reasons why many people end up in jail or prison is because they are unaware of the different criminal laws. You need to learn the difference between a violation, misdemeanor, felony, and crime. Realize the statistics that may be or may not be in your favor when it comes to the laws and risk of incarceration and govern yourself accordingly.


Be Focused

A huge issue with many ex-inmates is that they are often idle and lost about their next move. You need to have a plan and positive goals in mind. Focus on either obtaining your general equivalency degree, taking some literacy courses, learning, perfecting, or owning job/trade skills, becoming self-employed, or starting a business. If you have an interest in continuing your education, then you should do it. Do your research, get the proper knowledge and resources, and keep working at it. Also, avoid people, places, and things that will lead you back to your old ways. Keep busy and work on your short and long-term goals.




Going to jail or prison may be hard but getting out and living a normal life can be harder. You must be focused and motivated on getting or doing better by avoiding people, places, and things that can tempt you to risk losing your freedom or ending up (back) in jail or prison. Don't be ashamed of asking for help from trusted and valid and legitimate sources. Be committed and in no time, you can start living a normal, productive, and greater life again if you ever served jail or prison time.

For more information on helping an incarcerated loved, click the links, below:

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