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Federal Drug Sentencing Safety Valve

Posted in Blog on February 18th, 2014

Federal Drug Sentencing Safety Valve

Federal drug sentencing guidelines have been described as draconian.  They are long sentences that almost always are accompanied by a minimum mandatory sentence.  A minimum mandatory sentence is the minimum prison sentence that a judge is required by law to impose for a particular crime.  The judge is not allowed to sentence someone to a lesser sentence and they are regardless of the specific mitigating factors of the case itself.

There are few ways around these mandatory minimum sentences.  One of the few ways if the Federal Safety Valve authorized by 18 U.S.C. §3553(f) and outlined in Rule 5C1.2 of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which eliminates the statutory minimum in some drug cases. This means that if the accused meets the guidelines then there is no mandatory minimum sentence anymore.  A person qualifies for the safety valve if:

  1. He does not have more than one criminal history point;
  2. He did not use violence or threats of violence or possess a dangerous weapon or induce another participant to do so;
  3. The offense did not result in death or serious bodily injury;
  4. The defendant was not an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor; and
  5. Before sentencing, the defendant has “truthfully provided to the government all information and evidence the defendant has concerning the offense or offenses that were part of the same course of conduct or of a common scheme or plan.”

For more information regarding Federal Drug Sentencing or for a free consultation contact Fort Lauderdale Federal Criminal Defense Attorney David J. Sobel at 954-383-3000.