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Hey there, looks like you wanted to learn more about Amendment 821 and what it could mean for drug sentencing. I got you covered! Grab a snack and let’s dive in.Amendment 821 is no small change – it’s a huge deal that could seriously improve things for folks serving time for drug offenses. I know all the legal mumbo jumbo can make your eyes glaze over, so I’ll lay it out in simple terms.
In a nutshell, Amendment 821 changes how a person’s criminal history is calculated when deciding their sentence. It makes it so certain things don’t count against you as much anymore.Specifically, it gets rid of those “status points” people used to get just for being on probation, parole, etc. So if you got extra points added just because you were under supervision when you caught your current case, those won’t count anymore!This amendment was passed by the U.S. Sentencing Commission earlier in 2023 and is set to go into effect November 1st. But here’s the big news – on August 24th, the Commission voted to apply it retroactively!
Applying Amendment 821 retroactively means people currently serving time under the old rules could get their sentences reduced!This is huge because it doesn’t just help folks who get arrested after November 1st – it could potentially help thousands of people already sitting in federal prison. The Commission estimates around 20,000 inmates could see lower sentences if they file for reductions under Amendment 821.
Now I know what you’re thinking…too good to be true, right? Well there’s always some catches with the law, so let’s break it down.
Even though the amendment takes effect November 1st for any new cases, there’s a delay before retroactivity kicks in. Inmates can start filing motions on February 1, 2024. The courts need time to prepare for the flood of requests they’ll get!
So if you or a loved one is serving time in federal prison, mark your calendars for February 1st, 2024. That’s when you can file for a sentence reduction under the retroactive application of Amendment 821.
The main thing Amendment 821 does is change how criminal history points are calculated. So generally speaking, you may be eligible if:
There’s more to it than that, but that’s the basic idea. The court will look at all the details of your case to see if the change makes you eligible.
Now for some not-so-good news…you can’t “double dip” if you already got a sentence reduction before.
It’s tricky, but basically you only get one bite at the apple unless your first reduction was the very smallest amount allowed.
Filing for a sentence reduction under Amendment 821 retroactivity is pretty straightforward:
Having a lawyer helps, but it can be done without one if you do your homework!
Now I know your main question was about how Amendment 821 could affect drug sentences.The truth is it may not have as big an impact on drug cases as some other offenses. The main benefit is getting rid of those “status points” that were added when someone was on probation or parole.But many drug defendants don’t have much other criminal history, so they weren’t getting many status points to begin with.However, Amendment 821 could still help some drug offenders, especially those serving longer sentences. Even shaving off a few years could make a big difference for them.Some examples of drug defendants who may benefit:
So in summary – Amendment 821 is fantastic news for sentencing reform in general. But its impact may be more limited for drug offenses compared to other crimes.Nonetheless it’s absolutely still worth looking into if you or someone you know is serving federal time for a drug crime. Even the smallest chance at a reduction is worth pursuing.I know I just dumped a ton of info on you! But I wanted to make sure you have a solid understanding of Amendment 821 so you can make the most of it. Let me know if you have any other questions.And don’t lose hope – change is coming. Amendment 821 proves we’re moving in the right direction when it comes to fairer sentencing. Stay strong!
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