Columbus Drug Charge Attorney


Two facts drive both the statutory and guideline penalties in federal drug cases—the type and quantity of drugs. If the indictment alleges a quantity of drugs triggering a statutory mandatory minimum sentence, there are only two ways a person can be sentenced below that mandatory minimum: (1) he must be a “safety valve” candidate, meaning he meets all five criteria found in USSG §5C1.2; or (2) he must render cooperation that rises to the level of “substantial assistance” in the investigation and/or prosecution of others and the government must file a motion for a sentence reduction, pursuant to both 18 U.S.C. §3553(e) and USSG §5K1.1.

If a defendant has a prior conviction for a felony drug crime, his mandatory minimum penalties can be significantly enhanced if the government files a notice, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §851, which can double the mandatory minimum penalties or even mandate a life sentence. The impact of this notice is dependent on the classification of the federal drug crime for which the defendant is convicted.