Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws


Mandatory minimum sentencing laws set minimum prison time for specific crimes. The laws and penalties have become quite severe to crack down on certain crimes. Normally, a judge or jury determines the punishment a defendant will receive after being found guilty. Judges do not have the legal jurisdiction to lower jail time when there are mandatory minimum laws.

These laws prevent judges and juries from using discretion and taking into account the severity and context of a crime. Even if there is evidence that could afford flexibility in sentencing, the judge cannot take that evidence into consideration. Although judges cannot sentence more leniently, they are permitted to hand down harsher sentencing if they deem appropriate.

The most common minimum sentencing laws usually apply to drug offenses, but Congress has also applied those principles to other crimes such as gun and pornography offenses. For example, for a first-time offender, possession of 500 grams of cocaine has a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison.


“Three Strikes” Sentencing

Under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the “Three Strikes” law requires mandatory life in prison if someone convicted of a felony has either been convicted in federal court of any offense punishable by 10 or more years and has two or more previous convictions in federal or state courts


As you can see, these penalties are nothing to joke around with, and these are just the minimums. The court can give you much higher sentences if they feel it is warranted.

When you are facing drug trafficking charges in Georgia, you need an experienced attorney on your side. We can help you to design a defense plan that is tailored for your situation.

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