If you are accused of a crime that has a mandatory sentence attached, it’s important that you understand what that means and how it influences your case. Mandatory sentences are set up in such a way that a judge has no choice but to impose the sentence on all people who are convicted of a certain offense.
While mandatory sentences have helped encourage consistency in court, they can also be frustrating and seem unfair. As a defendant, your choices are limited, as well. You may need to argue against the charges to see if they can be dropped to a lesser charge without a mandatory sentence or fight to have the case against you dropped completely.
How can you fight a mandatory minimum sentence?
Here’s an example. If you are facing an accusation of distributing a Schedule I or II drug to a minor, you would face a mandatory sentence of one year in the state penitentiary. To be able to fight against this charge, you may need to defend yourself by showing that you:
- Did not distribute a drug to a minor because the individual was over 18
- Were not in possession of a Schedule I or II drug
- Were in possession of a drug without the intention to distribute it
These are a few options for how you could argue against the charge. Proving that an alleged minor was over 18 may help reduce the penalties by removing an aggravating factor. Showing that the drug in your possession wasn’t Schedule I or II may help reduce the potential penalties, too. In the case that you didn’t have drugs, getting evidence that the alleged drug was just candy or was something available over the counter could help get the charges reduced or discharged.
If you’re facing a mandatory minimum sentence, you do need help
There is little flexibility with sentencing when a mandatory minimum is required. For this reason, it’s very important that you have someone on your side to help you fight against the charges. Getting the charges reduced or dropped may help you avoid a significant sentence.