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Fair Sentencing Act of 2010

Carterville, IL |

Once signed by the President, will this law decrease all mandatory minimums, even if they were enhanced? My Boyfried is pending trial for a crack conspiracy and his minimum was raised from 10 years to 20. He hasnt been sentenced yet and wants to know how it will effect him.

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Attorney answers 2


The best person to ask would be your boyfriend's attorney.

The Act passed the House yesterday so have your boyfriend's attorney research to see the impact when President Obama signs the bill.


The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 eliminates the five-year mandatory minimum prison term for first-time possession of crack cocaine. However, this only applies to federal drug charges not state charges. Also, it only applies to first-time possession charges, not dealing, delivering, trafficking, etc... (or conspiracy to do such).

When you say the minimum was "raised" that probably means that the sentencing range recommended for your boyfriend is greater than the statutory minimum. Certain criminal statutes require the judge to impose at least a certain minimum sentence. This is what is called a "mandatory minimum." However, the actual sentence that a defendant receives depends on the sentencing guidelines. Sentencing guidelines are a complex formula used to determine the appropriate sentence range in a specific case. Points are added to the sentencing recommendation based on a defendant's prior criminal history and based on the circumstances regarding the current charge such as whether a weapon was involved or whether someone was injured.

A 10 year increase in the minimum sentence recommended for your boyfriend indicates that he either has a long criminal history, there were aggravating circumstances regarding his commission of the current offense, or both. His defense attorney may be able to convince the judge that there are mitigating factors that warrant the judge to sentence below the range (or at least near the low end of the range). For example, a record of community service and good works, supporting a family and being a productive working member of society,or completion of therapy or rehab.

DISCLAIMER: This answer is provided as general information, which may not be appropriate for the specific facts of your particular situation. No attorney-client relationship has been established based on this limited communication. You are advised to consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction before taking any action or inaction that may affect your legal rights.

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