What is the difference between “substantial assistance:” and “safety valve in the federal law?
As criminal defense attorneys and lawyers in San Diego, we try hard to help our clients understand the difference between these two important concepts.
The United States Sentencing Guidelines call for a minimum of five years or ten years imprisonment in most drug offenses unless the defendant meets the very strict criteria of the safety valve under section 5(c)(2).
How does the federal safety valve work?
The federal safety valve is a strict, five-part test. If all five requirements in the law are met, the
court must sentence a person below the mandatory minimum, generally by using the federal
sentencing guidelines to create a sentence that fits the offender and his crime.
The federal safetyvalve requires the court to sentence an offender below this mandatory
minimum only if all five of the criteria below are met:
(1) no one was harmed during the offense,
(2) the offender has little or no history of criminal convictions,
(3) the offender did not use violence or a gun,
(4) the offender was not a leader or organizer of the offense, AND
(5) the offender told the prosecutor all that they know about the offense.
Even a drunk driving offense may disqualify the defendant from receiving the safety valve. At the Law Offices, San Diego defense attorney Russell S. Babcock is an expert at finding ways to help an individual qualify for the safety valve, often saving them many years of their lives.