In an earlier post, Federal drug defense attorney John Helms described four ways a person accused of federal drug distribution may get a sentence reduction.
In an earlier post, called “Dallas Drug Possession Lawyer- Getting a Sentence Reduced in Federal Drug Cases,” Federal drug defense attorney John Helms described four ways that a person accused of drug distribution in a federal case can potentially get a reduction of their sentence.
- Cooperate with the government.
- Negotiate a plea to a charge with a lower mandatory minimum sentence.
- Negotiate a plea agreement with a maximum sentence cap.
- Invoke the “safety valve” provision of 18 USC Section 3553(f).
This post discusses in detail how negotiating a plea to a charge with a lower mandatory minimum sentence can get you a sentence reduction.
Federal drug charges usually have mandatory minimum sentences. This means that, with only a couple of exceptions (cooperation with the government and the “safety valve”), you cannot get a LOWER sentence than the mandatory minimum. When it applies, the judge cannot give you a lower sentence because doing so would violate the law.
As an example, for a first offense for distribution of, or conspiracy to distribute, between 500 grams and 4999 grams of a mixture containing cocaine, or between 50-499 grams of a mixture containing methamphetamine, the mandatory minimum sentence is 5 years in prison.
However, for 5 kilos or more of a mixture containing cocaine, or 500 grams or more of a mixture containing methamphetamine, the mandatory minimum sentence is 10 years.
If you are charged with a drug crime that carries a ten-year mandatory minimum, for example, sometimes prosecutors may be willing to agree to lower the charge to a lower quantity that carries only a five-year mandatory minimum. If that is part of a plea agreement, the Government will file what is called “superseding information,” which replaces the more serious charge in the indictment with the less serious charge.
A plea agreement like this is helpful when it is expected that you will get a sentence of LESS THAN the mandatory minimum of the more serious charge. For example, if it is expected that you will get a sentence of between six and eight years under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, if your mandatory minimum is ten years, then you would (absent an exception) get at least ten years. But if the plea agreement results in a charge with a five-year mandatory minimum, then you are likely to get between six and eight years instead of ten years.
Prosecutors are not always willing to do this by any means. They are usually more willing when the accused has a minor role in a drug conspiracy or if they think it will be difficult to prove the larger quantity of drugs for some reason.
Ask your drug defense lawyer about this option. I have been able to get good results for clients using it.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a federal drug offense or are facing other drug charges, contact Federal drug defense attorney John Helms immediately. Call 214-666-8010
Read the first article here: “Dallas Drug Possession Lawyer Getting a Sentence Reduced in Federal Drug Cases”