Mandatory minimum sentences cannot be suspended or reduced by the judge. Mandatory minimum sentencing puts the power right into the hands of the state attorney. Several states have done this while continuing to see crime fall to historic lows: New York. A ten-year mandatory minimum sentence is ten years in prison, not eight and a half (which is what somebody would normally get on a ten-year sentence under Florida's current gain time scheme). Even after this is done, and assuming there is no mandatory minimum sentence requirement, there are still a number of ways to get a sentence below the recommended range. Mandatory minimum sentencing is a type of criminal sentencing that involves fixed fines and jail/prison sentences depending on the type of crime. If you are being sentenced in federal court, the judge will determine the recommended sentencing range under the United States Sentencing Guidelines. In 2015 the US Senate voted to move forward on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 [JURIST report] , which would cut back on mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders. With proportional sentences, we can reduce both sentence lengths and the likelihood individuals will commit further crimes. Program Can Reduce Mandatory Sentences in Pennsylvania Drug Cases. Like many states, Pennsylvania faces prison overcrowding issues, and the problem is being dealt with in two ways: 1) the construction of additional prisons; and 2) the early release of some non-violent offenders. Successes. A mandatory sentence can be avoided by naming names. What Is Mandatory Minimum Sentencing? The changes in the sentencing structure would allow the state to save money on prison costs and allow those serving mandatory minimums to appeal their sentences. Further, you will not be eligible for any good time credit (which is typically 15% for felony charges in Virginia). A federal criminal defense attorney can argue for a … By Jason Dunkle on G+. Senate Bill 1161 would increase the thresholds for and reduce the length of the mandatory fixed-minimum sentences that come with a conviction of trafficking in heroin. In most criminal cases, the judge has a certain amount of discretion to set the sentence based on various factors. The only mandatory minimum sentence the Senate version preserves is a life sentence for capital murder of a police officer — something law enforcement groups argued vigorously to preserve. That meant sentencing guidelines and, for a few very serious offenses, mandatory minimums below which the judge couldn't go. "The moral of this story," says Julie Stewart, director of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a Washington advocacy group, "is that if you're going to get caught on a drug charge, be a kingpin. New York State passed the “Rockefeller drug laws,” imposing harsh mandatory sentences for drug possession in 1973. 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