Federal Drug Penalties

This shifting may become necessary as other crimes become more important than simple drug charges. Because these penalties are at the federal level, it takes time to process and change laws based on these proposed acts.

The fact that the prisons across the country are full of non-violent lawbreakers dealing in or with drugs has prompted many lawyers and political advocates to lobby those in power with changes to provide assistance to these individuals. There are additional factors that should be taken into account as well, such as the type of crime and how it may or may not contribute to further criminal acts. The first offender stipulation may also reduce penalties with the assistance of legal counsel. However, differing crimes may provide for reduced sentences and punishments if these proposed acts become laws. With the retrograde stipulation, those already in prison or jail from the point the acts were proposed may be let out earlier than expected.

Holder Amendment

Some amendments have provided for harsher penalties based on who did what in the crimes charged against multiple defending parties. The Holder Amendment was created for when someone is a courier of illicit substances, but he or she did not participate in any violent acts. Other stipulations to take into account are whether the courier carried a certain amount of drugs, weapons or other items that may incriminate him or her more. Because of these changes, the mandatory sentencing of five to ten years behind bars has been eliminated. The federal district judge that oversees these cases may, at his or her discretion, issue a probationary term of time as an alternate punishment. This provides for many allowances when the person has not caused any injury or damage during his or her actions when involving drugs.

Sweeping Two Point Reduction

November of 2014 saw the reduction of the guideline calculations for most of the more severe drug violations by the Federal United States Sentencing Commission. Two levels of these guidelines were reduced regarding these crimes when a person has been convicted. This means that when someone has been convicted with shipping or moving some types of drugs, he or she may see a reduction in the sentences issued for the charges. This may also show in a lesser amount of years by as many as three or more from the mandatory sentencing. This amendment has provided these allowances during convictions with only drug charges. If another crime has been committed, the penalties may be just as harsh as they were before the amendment was applied.