The federal sentencing guidelines are extremely severe and can result in a very lengthy sentence. Based upon the amount of narcotics charged in the case there are five and ten year mandatory minimum sentences. Those mandatory minimum sentences are doubled in cases where you have a previous conviction for a drug offense. You need a Chicago criminal lawyer to represent you.
How do you avoid a mandatory minimum sentence for a federal drug crime? There are only two ways. The first is to risk your life and your family’s life by ratting out your co-defendants or other individuals involved in the drug trade and by providing “substantial assistance” to the federal government. Section 5K1.1 of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines allows a judge to grant a lower sentence to a defendant whom the prosecutor says has given substantial assistance. In most cases for this “substantial assistance” downward sentence to apply you would not only need to provide the government information about people involved in the drug trade you would also be required to testify against them in court.
Chicago Criminal Lawyer Fighting Against Mandatory Minimum Sentences
The other way that you can avoid a mandatory minimum federal drug charge sentence is through what is known as the “Safety Valve.” Safety valves are laws that were created by Congress that allow federal courts to give a defendant a sentence in prison less than the mandatory minimum requires. However, the Defendant must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for the safety valve. An experienced Chicago criminal attorney can help you get the safety valve.
Below are the required criteria to satisfy the “Safety Valve,”
- no one was harmed during the offense,
- the offender has little or no history of criminal convictions,
- the offender did not use violence or a gun,
- the offender was not a leader or organizer of the offense, AND
- the offender told the prosecutor all that they know about the offense
If the Defendant meets the above requirements than the court can sentence the Defendant without regard to any mandatory minimum requirements.
Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Michael P. Schmiege handles federal drug crime cases and has experience getting Defendants the “safety valve” and obtaining sentences below the statutorily mandate minimum sentences in federal drug crime cases.
Contact Chicago criminal lawyer Michael P. Schmiege if you are facing a federal drug charge and are seeking a sentence below the mandatory minimums.