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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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What Is Safety Valve In Federal Criminal Cases

By Spodek Law Group | February 13, 2023
(Last Updated On: March 17, 2023)

Last Updated on: 17th March 2023, 03:49 pm

The Importance of Safety Valves in Sentencing Laws

When it comes to sentencing laws, a “safety valve” is an exception that could make all the difference in a person’s life. This exception allows a judge to sentence a person below the mandatory minimum term, but only if certain conditions are met. Safety valves can vary in scope, ranging from broad to narrow, depending on the crime committed or the type of offender involved. Although safety valves do not repeal or eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, they do provide a way to give shorter, more appropriate prison sentences to offenders who pose less of a public safety threat. This, in turn, helps to save scarce taxpayer dollars and prison beds for those who present the biggest danger to society.

At Spodek Law Group, we recognize the importance of safety valves in sentencing laws, and we believe that they can be even more effective than they are today.

The Problem with Current Federal Law

Unfortunately, current federal law only offers one safety valve, and it applies to a very narrow group of people: first-time, nonviolent drug offenders whose cases did not involve guns. While the passage of this safety valve by FAMM in 1994 has helped more than 95,000 nonviolent drug offenders receive fairer sentences, it is still a very limited exception. In fact, in 2015, only 13% of all drug offenders qualified for this exception.

The problems with the current law are twofold:

  1. The mere presence of a lawfully purchased and registered gun in a person’s home or car is enough to disqualify a nonviolent drug offender from the safety valve.
  2. Even minor infractions that resulted in no prison time, such as careless driving, can disqualify an otherwise worthy low-level drug offender from the safety valve.

Furthermore, other mandatory minimum sentences for different types of crimes – notably, gun possession offenses – are often excessive and apply to low-level offenders who could serve less time in prison without endangering the public.

The Solution to Improve Safety Valves

At Spodek Law Group, we believe that a broader safety valve is necessary to make our current laws more effective. This broader safety valve should apply to all mandatory minimum sentences, not just nonviolent drug offenders. Additionally, we recommend expanding the existing drug safety valve to cover more low-level offenders.

By making these changes to the current law, we can help more people receive fairer sentences and save taxpayer dollars in the process. At Spodek Law Group, our team of experienced attorneys is committed to fighting for our clients’ rights, and we will continue to advocate for better safety valves in our justice system.

Facing Mandatory Minimum Sentencing? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you are charged with a crime by the United States Department of Justice, you may be facing a mandatory minimum sentence, particularly if the charges are related to federal drug or gun offenses. However, there is a glimmer of hope – the Safety Valve Provision – that could significantly reduce your sentence. Let’s dive into the details.

Understanding Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Congress sets mandatory minimum sentences for specific crimes, and these sentences are automatic upon conviction or acceptance of a plea bargain. Even if a judge thinks the sentence is too severe, they can’t do much about it. The only way to receive a lesser sentence is if the Safety Valve Provision applies.

What Is the Safety Valve Provision?

The Safety Valve Provision was passed by Congress in 1984 and is designed to ensure that nonviolent, “low level” offenders with little to no criminal history are not given disproportionate sentences. It applies to drug crimes with a mandatory minimum sentence and allows a judge to reduce the sentence to less than what is required by law.

Reduced Offense Levels

In addition to a lighter sentence, the Safety Valve offers a two-point reduction in the total offense level. This can make a significant difference in the length of your sentence. The offense level is rated between one and 43, and the higher numbers represent more serious crimes or crimes with compounded factors.

What Are the Requirements for Safety Valve Eligibility?

To be eligible for the Safety Valve Provision, the offender must meet certain criteria, including having limited criminal history (not more than four criminal history points, excluding any 1-point offenses), not using or possessing a firearm or dangerous weapon, not committing a violent crime or making credible threats of violence, not causing death or serious bodily injury, not organizing or leading others in the crime, and providing comprehensive information and evidence to investigators.

Which Federal Criminal Cases Are Eligible?

Not all federal criminal cases are eligible for the Safety Valve Provision. Charges outlined in 18 U.S.C. 3553(f) qualify, such as distribution, manufacturing, or dispensing of a controlled or counterfeit substance, simple possession of a controlled substance, attempt and conspiracy to distribute or manufacture a controlled substance, and importing or exporting a controlled substance.

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I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

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