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Not All Drug Crimes Are the Same: A Deeper Look into Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws

man handcuffed with drugs

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing in Florida

In 2017, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal district attorneys to return to the old policy of mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses. Under mandatory minimum drug sentencing, the percentage of drug offenders facing long sentences for non-violent crimes increased to 50% of the federal prison population. The policy is expensive, as a quarter of the DOJ's budget is spent on punishing instead of rehabilitating these offenders.

Many non-violent drug offenders have children who are negatively affected by having a parent serve a disproportionately long sentence. Mandatory minimum sentencing is an attack on the judiciary's discretion to consider extenuating and mitigating factors in drug trials.

Mandatory Minimums Hurt the Accused

Research has shown that mandatory minimum sentencing contributes to the breakdown of families and the delinquency of minor children who are pushed into the foster care system when one or both parents are given long sentences for non-violent drug crimes. Recidivism rates among first-time drug offenders are higher because the federal prison setting does not provide suitable settings for rehabilitation. Often, non-violent offenders are housed with violent felons who have been convicted of the worst crimes against society.

Legal Representation for Federal Drug Charges

If you've been arrested on a federal drug charge that carries the potential for a mandatory minimum sentence, consult an attorney before you go on trial. Don't leave yourself at the mercy of mandatory minimum sentencing. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor, which can lead to a lesser charge that doesn't carry a mandatory minimum sentence.

Additionally, a quality attorney may be able to put forward a jurisdictional argument to move your case from the federal courts to the state courts. If the arresting officers didn't follow the correct procedures for evidence collection, arrest, and interrogation, your lawyer could argue for unlawfully gathered discriminatory evidence to be excluded from the trial.

First Coast Criminal Defense Can Help

If you've been arrested for a drug misdemeanor or felony, call First Coast Criminal Defense. First Coast Criminal Defense has a successful track record in protecting and defending the constitutional rights of the accused. Our firm offers a complimentary initial review of your case. Our attorneys care about the outcome of your judicial proceedings and will work hard to give you the specialized attention and diligence to which you're entitled.

Call (904) 474-3115 today to learn more about how our team at First Coast Criminal Defense can help protect your rights.

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