Mandatory drug sentencing laws create punishments that involve a minimum number of years in prison for certain drug crimes. Such laws are also called mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws. Such laws were created in response to crackdowns on certain types of dangerous street drugs. These include crack cocaine, methamphetamines, and various types of new “designer drugs” such as ecstasy.
Mandatory drug sentencing laws limit the amount of discretion that a judge has in issuing a sentence for drug crimes. Instead, the jail or prison times are stated specifically in criminal statutes.
Criminal sentencing for drug crimes is often based on a few key factors. These may include the type of drug involved, the amount of drug in possession, and whether or not the person intended to distribute the drug.
For instance, a minimum sentence law on crack cocaine might prescribe the following sentences:
Mandatory drug sentencing laws have often been criticized due to their harshness and inflexibility. For instance, such laws often do not take into account other factors such as the offender’s age or their prior criminal background.
In addition, some people consider mandatory sentencing laws as discriminatory, as penalties for certain drugs tend to be harsher than others. The argument is that certain drugs are associated with specific communities or races.
Drug sentences often follow a complex scheme of statutory laws that can be difficult to understand. You may wish to hire a criminal lawyer if you need help with minimum drug sentences or any other criminal issues. Your attorney can provide you with the legal advice and defense representation that is necessary in a criminal trial.
Last Modified: 03-12-2014 09:54 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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