Good news is few far between when it comes to penalties for federal drug offenses. Federal drug penalties for the importation of narcotics such as fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine are daunting: often more than five years.
The United States Sentencing Commission has finally given some relief for a person who has absolutely no criminal record whatsoever. I call this new guideline, : The Squeaky Clean Act." Proposed United States Guideline Section 4C1.1 provides that a defendant with no criminal record who does not commit an aggravated crime is eligible for a two-point reduction in the sentencing guideline range. This section provides as follows:
§4C1.1. Adjustment for Certain Zero-Point Offenders
(a) ADJUSTMENT.—If the defendant meets all of the following criteria:
(1) the defendant did not receive any criminal history points from Chapter Four, Part A;
(2) the defendant did not receive an adjustment under §3A1.4 (Terrorism);
(3) the defendant did not use violence or credible threats of violence in connection with the offense;
(4) the offense did not result in death or serious bodily injury;
(5) the instant offense of conviction is not a sex offense;
(6) the defendant did not personally cause substantial financial hardship;
(7) the defendant did not possess, receive, purchase, transport, transfer, sell, or otherwise dispose of a firearm or other dangerous weapon (or induce another participant to do so) in connection with the offense;
(8) the instant offense of conviction is not covered by §2H1.1 (Offenses Involving Individual Rights);
(9) the defendant did not receive an adjustment under §3A1.1 (Hate Crime Motivation or Vulnerable Victim) or §3A1.5 (Serious Human Rights Offense); and Criminal History
(10) the defendant did not receive an adjustment under §3B1.1 (Aggravating Role) and was not engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise, as defined in 21 U.S.C. § 848; decrease the offense level determined under Chapters Two and Three by 2 levels.
Note that this section will go into effect on November 1, 2023, if it is not overridden by Congress.
I handle a lot of cases involving drug mules, money laundering, and other financial crimes. What this law means is that many individuals will now be eligible to receive a sentence six months to a year lower than what it would have been before this law.
This new law recognizes that sentences should not be so harsh for true first offenders. This amendment is part of a slow, but certain, trend in reducing incarceration time for all federal defendants with no prior record.
(created with RI: real intelligence.)