SAFETY VALVE UPDATE
This is an update to previously authored practice guides.
SAFETY VALVE UPDATEI authored two previous AVVO practice guides on the federal Safety Valve. (United States Sentencing Guidelines Section 5C1.2) A defendant who qualifies for the Safety Valve is not subject to the statutory minimum penalty for the offense (which is typically 10 years, and occasionally 5 or 20 years). Prior to the enactment of the First Step Act, the Safety Valve was limited to defendants with little to no criminal history. Specifically, the defendant was excluded if he had more than one criminal history point. The First Step Act expanded the Safety Valve eligibility substantially and allows defendants who have a moderate level of criminal history to be eligible. One point convictions, which are minor misdemeanor offenses for which the defendant served less than 60 days of custody, are no longer counted. For example, a defendant with no criminal history other than a misdemeanor DUI (typically a one point conviction) and a driving on a suspended license conviction (almost always a one point conviction) were excluded. Under the new law, neither of these convictions would count toward the eligibility calculation. And with certain exceptions, defendants with up to four criminal history points are eligible for the Safety Valve.
Call our office if you have additional questions about the Safety Valve.