More than 46,000 federal drug offenders could be eligible for sentence reductions after the U.S. Sentencing Commission recently approved a plan to extend federal drug sentencing guidelines to current inmates. 1
Prisoners who are eligible for sentence reductions will not be released until November 2015, giving judges the time necessary to review candidates and allow prosecutors to object if there are concerns about any inmates. 2
The commission’s unanimous vote follows a decision made in April to amend sentencing guidelines in some federal drug cases involving non-violent drug offenders. Those new guidelines will now extend to thousands of inmates currently serving time in federal prison due to drug crime convictions. 3
Sentence reductions for non-violent drug offenders will help condense the overcrowded federal prison system without harming public safety. The commission’s decision is a step towards ending decades-long efforts to punish drug crimes harshly.
How Will Sentence Reductions Affect You?
Federal judges in California will be able to begin reviewing eligible cases in November. Congress has until Nov. 1 to reject the measure, but they are not expected to reverse the decision. 4
According to the Daily Journal, there are more than 2,500 estimated federal drug offenders currently serving time in the California prison system that may be eligible for sentence reductions. Sentences for non-violent drug offenders will be reduced by two years, allowing many of the eligible inmates to be released. 5
Delaying reductions by a year will allow for any public safety concerns about eligible inmates to be addressed and give convicted drug offenders time to apply for sentence reductions. The Federal Bureau of Prisons will begin notifying inmates about the application process.
Despite the large number of eligible cases, reviews of federal drug offenders are not likely to overwhelm defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges. Much of the work involved has already taken place, including evaluating the inmates criminal history and determining a sentence. However, a small number of cases are expected to require an additional investigation by attorneys and judges, such as cases in which the prosecutor no longer works for the U.S. attorney’s office.
Are You Eligible for a Sentence Reduction?
If you or a loved one is currently serving time in jail for a federal drug offense, you need to contact an experienced federal defense attorney immediately to discuss eligibility for sentence reductions. You may be able to be released from prison and reunite with your family earlier than expected.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled federal attorneys have been successfully helping our clients with federal drug crime matters for over 30 years. We can help guide you through the application process and give you the best chance to have your sentence reduced.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our experienced federal defense attorneys are available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call our offices today at (888) 280-6839 for a free telephone consultation. We will be there when you call.
1. [ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/18/federal-drug-sentences-reduced/12842893/]↩