As drug defense lawyers, we know that one of the largest challenges facing many people facing drug-related accusations is the specter of mandatory sentencing. Many people who are arrested and charged with a drug-related crime for the first time may not even be aware of the fact that there is such a thing as mandatory sentencing when it comes to drug-related crimes.
Despite the variety of clients facing drug charges, the one consistent factor is the fact that they face the possibility of a mandatory sentence. This is especially common in drug possession, drug sale, drug distribution or conspiracy changes, in which the judge has very little discretion to consider circumstance or mitigating factors.
As drug defense lawyers, we are also intimately aware of the fact that mandatory sentencing has become the norm with regard to drug-related crimes. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws for certain crimes cannot be loaded by a judge, even if extenuating circumstances exist. The most common of these laws are targeted specifically at drug offenders and set the mandatory minimum sentences. These are typically for the possession of a drug over a certain amount to significant time in prison that may not be necessary if the client is facing a first-time offense.
It is critically important that people who face charges with a drug-related crime have a defense lawyer in their corner from very early on. A defense lawyer can protect their rights and mount a vigorous defense that may avoid the sentencing phase altogether.
Federal drug laws for the possession of a certain amount of illegal drugs tend to be extremely harsh, and the mandatory minimum sentencing can be as well. As drug defense lawyers, we know that a person who has been arrested with one gram of LSD, or 100 grams of heroin, will spend at least five years in prison if convicted. Similarly, there are three strikes laws which are another form of mandatory minimum sentencing.
It is safe to say that three-strikes laws are just another way to implement mandatory minimum sentencing. Under three-strikes law as somebody accused of a drug-related crime in face minimum sentencing if they are convicted of a third felony. The other two felonies do not necessarily have to be drug-related, for a judge to use the three strikes rules. Under federal law, this can be life in prison without the possibility of parole, depending on the severity of the crimes and charges brought against the defendant.
State legislators have also gone to great lengths to ensure that they passed mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines and laws. This severely restricts the judge's ability to be lenient, or take into consideration mitigating or aggravating factors specific to the crime that you have been accused of. Being represented by a highly competent drug defense lawyers is typically the only way to avoid the pitfalls of mandatory minimum sentencing. For help with your case, call our office.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice