What are the Mandatory Minimum Sentences In Federal Drug Cases?
San Diego Federal Criminal Defense Attorney and Lawyer Russell Babcock and staff always work hard to avoid the stiff mandatory minimum sentences in drug and narcotic crimes. Congress has established the United States Sentencing Commission, which in turn, has implemented a very strict set of minimum sentences for first time individuals possessing any illegal narcotics or drugs.
The mandatory minimum sentences under the federal criminal law are as follows:
cocaine 500 grams, five years,; kilo or kilogram ten years
methamphetamine 5 grams, five years;, 50 grams ten years
heroin 100 grams, five years, 1 kilo or kilogram ten years
marijuana or cannabis 100 kilos or kilograms or/one hundred plants, five years; 1000 kilograms or kilos or one thousand plants, ten years.
To imagine the quantity of drugs applicable, 454 grams is equal to one pound, and one thousand grams equals one kilo or kilogram. To imagine the quantity further, a small packet of sugar or sweet-n-low weights one gram. So the equivalent of five sweet and low packets of methamphetamine will make a first time offender subject to a five year mandatory period of jail.
Making matters worse, there is no parole in the federal system, so an individual who is sentenced to ten years in jail will serve a sentence of approximately eight and one half years.
It is no defense to a drug charge that a person did not know the quantity of drug or the type of drug that was imported rom Mexico over the border at San Ysidro from Tijuana to San Diego.
For instance, a person could believe that he was importing only a few grams of marijuana if they are fooled and have methamphetamine ( speed or “cri cri”) in their car, the ten year penalty will apply.
There are limited exceptions to the rules the mandatory minimum sentences. First, there is the “safety valve”, 18 U.S.S.C. Section 3553 (f), allowing a very limited class of first time offenders to escape the strict minimums. Safety valve is a five part test that is very difficult to achieve and is often dependent upon the position of the representative of the United States government, the Assistant United States Attorney to achieve relief. At the law offices, owner and certified criminal law specialist, Russell Babcock, and his associates are very skilled at achieving safety valve reductions and have been able to successful reduce mandatory sentences by more than five years. There is no greater gift than giving back someone five years or more of life.
Other ways of achieving reductions are having the drugs weighed, showing that someone was coerced into carrying the drugs or cooperating with the federal government (substantial assistance.) We have helped many individuals with federal drug crimes “escape the jaws of the beast” and obtain much more fair and lenient sentences.
Finally, if a person did not know that there were drugs in their vehicle and had no reason to know, they are called “a blind mule.” Russell Babcock is well-known as the :blind mule attorney,” and he has successfully defended several blind mules. (For more information on blind-mule cases, see the website www.blind-mule.com. ) For more information about the unfairness of mandatory penalties, see www.famm.org.
Mandatory penalties subvert justice. They divide families and often punish individuals harshly who have never been in trouble with the law and may not have known the type of contraband they are carrying.
Call today for your free consultation with the federal drug crime expert attorneys/lawyers, certified criminal law specialist Russell Babcock.
Don’t unnecessarily lose years of your life because you received an inadequate criminal defense.