Learn the Basics of Federal Safety Valve Legislation and its Impact

Learn the Basics of Federal Safety Valve Legislation and its Impact

Confession is beneficial to the soul. At least, that is what most federal practitioners reluctantly accept from the Courts and US Attorneys. This is due to two primary ways in which defendants might get a significant benefit: obtaining a drug charge punished below the obligatory minimum.

In this blog, we’ll look at the “Federal Safety Valve.” The Safety Valve is significant for two reasons: first, a defendant who qualifies obtains a two-level guideline adjustment; second, the Court can sentence without respect to any required minimum term.

Drug crimes are the most common reason for mandatory minimum sentences. Minimum penalties for drug charges are determined by the amount of drugs a person is claimed to have possessed. Possession with intent to distribute marijuana carries a mandatory penalty of 60 months (5 years) for over 100 kilograms and 120 months (10 years) for over 1000 kilograms. The quantities are different for cocaine, but the minimums are the same.

United States Sentencing Guidelines now state that if a defendant fits the requirements, the court can sentence without consideration to any required minimum sentence 2 for offenses. If you have questions, contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088.

Eligibility to be covered by the Federal Safety Valve

All of the following must be true for the defendant to qualify:

  • The defendant has no more than one criminal history point
  • The defendant did not use violence or credible threats of violence, or possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon (or induce another participant to do so) in connection with the offense
  • The offense did not result in death or serious bodily injury

The courts have a lot of control in the Federal Safety Valve

Safety Valve eligibility is ultimately decided by the courts. It is permissible for the government to offer a suggestion. What are their methods for accomplishing this? In most cases, the client signs a sworn statement and gives it to the Assistant United States Attorney in charge of the case.

That attorney makes a decision in their opinion, and if it is approved, it is given to the US Probation Officer, who recommends the adjustment. If it is not acceptable, an interview with the United States and its case agent can typically be scheduled. The Court should be notified and an evidentiary hearing requested if the AUSA recommends that the adjustment be refused.

In summary, the stages are straightforward; nonetheless, it is critical to ensure that the evidence reflects or can be proven to support the defendant’s version, as well as that the defendant is okay with any repercussions that may result from his disclosing “full information.”

Once again, any questions should be addressed to Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088. Call us today to request a free legal consultation.

Call Us Today