When someone faces federal criminal offenses, the idea of mandatory minimum sentencing can seem daunting. A mandatory minimum sentence is determined by Congress as to what the minimum punishment for certain crimes should be.

Congress determined that possession of child pornography carries a minimum of ten years in prison and passed a law to that effect. A judge cannot sentence someone to less than ten years for child pornography because that is the mandatory minimum sentence.

For more information about mandatory minimum sentencing in Clearwater federal offense cases, contact a distinguished federal criminal attorney as soon as possible.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences vs. Guideline Sentencing

Mandatory minimum sentencing in Clearwater federal offense cases are decided by Congress. Child pornography carries a minimum of ten years of prison. That minimum sentence is calculated pursuant to a grid in Guideline Calculations consists of various items such as whether or not there was a vulnerable victim and how much was the intended loss. Minimum mandatories are not changed or altered by the Court. If the minimum mandatory states ten years and the Guideline says 30 months, the Court has to give ten years.

How to Complete the Sentencing Guideline Form

The federal offense itself carries a certain number that is along the left-hand column of the sentencing guidelines. The person’s prior record is recorded on top, and where those two numbers meet at the grid is the recommended Sentencing Guideline. It is only a guideline and is not mandatory and the court can depart from that. The general process that judges use when applying mandatory minimum sentences in federal offense cases is determined by State Statute specific to the crime.

What Role Does One’s Criminal History Play in Consequences?

Criminal history is one of the items on the very top of the grid of the Sentencing Guideline Calculation. Once criminal history is established, the Guideline number is for the crime; then that Guideline number moves to the right along the grid until it meets the prior conviction, criminal history; and that determines the Sentencing Guideline range.

Facing Minimum Sentencing Penalties

The defendant’s lawyer can attempt to negotiate a reduction in the crime so that the crime will not require a mandatory minimum. The individual can request substantial assistance from the defendant if they cooperate with the Government, a Motion to Eliminate the mandatory minimum sentencing in Clearwater federal offense cases can be made.

There is the safe harbor where, if the defendant qualifies under certain criteria, the judge has the authority to sentence a mandatory minimum. Someone can only appeal a mandatory minimum sentence for federal offense cases if the defendant comply’s with the associated statutes.

The individual can try to get the Government to reduce the charge to a lesser charge that does not carry a mandatory minimum. If they know something that would help the Government by providing substantial assistance it would be helpful. The Government can then make a Motion to Remove the Mandatory Minimum portion of the sentence due to their cooperation.

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