Are DUIs the most common arrest in the U.S.?

To answer this question it imperative that you understand how the statistics are gathered.  The most recent data set for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program is 2009.  Table 31 has the arrest data, .  In 2009, there were 1,112,384 arrests for driving under the influence.  The only two categories with a higher number are “property crime” and “drug abuse violation.”  They define “property crime” as “crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.”  Additionally, they define “drug abuse violation” as the “unlawful cultivation, manufacture, distribution, sale, purchase, use, possession, transportation, or importation of any controlled drug or narcotic substance.”

The FBI’s “property crime” obviously is a compilation of a number of fundamentally different criminal actions and it not comparable.  However, they list there as being 1,305,191 arrests for “drug abuse violations,” and 81.6% of that is for possession and the remainder is for Sale/Manufacturing.  So, if you assume that the FBI’s stat covers two distinct offenses (possession vs. sale/distribution), then DWI probably is the most common arrest.