In recognition of the fact that certain sentencing guidelines resulted in disparate sentences for similar crimes, the United States legislature passed a set of laws that rendered people convicted of drug crimes involving crack cocaine eligible for reduced sentences. As discussed in a recent Florida ruling, though, mere eligibility is insufficient to demonstrate that such relief should be granted. If you were convicted of a drug offense, you might be eligible for a sentence reduction pursuant to recent changes in the law, and it is advisable to speak to a trusted Tampa drug crime defense lawyer about your options.
The Defendant’s Conviction
It is reported that in 2005, a jury convicted the defendant of numerous offenses, including possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute. Due to his prior history of drug crimes and the quantity of crack cocaine in his possession, he was subject to a mandatory life sentence. The district court ultimately imposed a sentence of life plus fifteen years imprisonment, followed by ten years of supervised release. After Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010 and the First Step Act in 2018, the defendant moved to reduce his sentence. The trial court granted his motion in part, reducing his sentence to 420 months in prison followed by eight years of supervised release. The defendant appealed, arguing the court abused its discretion in not reducing his sentence further.
Sentence Reductions Under the First Step Act
The appellate court rejected the defendant’s reasoning and affirmed the trial court ruling. The court noted that the First Step Act permits district courts to reduce the sentence of eligible defendants only as if the relevant provisions of the Act were in place when the defendant committed the offense. In other words, the courts are not free to recalculate a defendant’s sentencing guidelines based on other changes in the law that were put into effect following his sentencing.
Further, the appellate court found that the district court did not abuse its discretion in failing to consider all of the sentencing factors because it was not required to consider them in any manner, much less in the manner outlined by the defendant. Finally, the appellate court found that the district court set forth a detailed opinion explaining its reasoning and showing that it considered the defendant’s history and found that the reduced sentence it issued to be reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances. Thus, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.
Meet with a Trusted Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney
Convictions for drug crimes have historically resulted in significant penalties, but some people may be able to obtain sentence reductions pursuant to recent changes in the law. If you were convicted of a drug crime, it is smart to meet with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss whether you may be eligible for a sentence reduction. William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is a trusted Tampa drug crime defense lawyer with the skills and resources needed to help you seek just results, and if you hire him, he will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach Mr. Hanlon through the form online or at 813-228-7095 to set up a meeting.