Federal Sentencing Guidelines - Mandatory Minimums

Michigan Drug Crime Defense Attorneys Representing Clients in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Throughout Michigan Accused of Federal Drug Crimes

Individuals who have been arrested for or charged with a drug crime in Michigan must speak with an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney regarding your legal options and rights. At Grabel & Associates, we work diligently to obtain a positive outcome for all of our clients, and are known and respected for the results we secure for our clients across the state.

Those arrested for federal drug crimes are vigorously prosecuted; if convicted, the penalties you may face will be much harsher than those imposed at the state level. Federal sentencing guidelines are essentially a basis on which judges can penalize those convicted of a drug crime in a way that is in proportion and uniform. However, mandatory minimums have for years resulted in sentences for some federal drug crimes, which are severely out of proportion when compared to the crime committed.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Congress passed legislation in the late 1980s regarding mandatory minimum sentencing largely due to the growing concern over the use of crack cocaine. Essentially, judges are forced by law to deliver sentences that are "fixed" to convicted individuals, regardless of any mitigating factors or culpability. The primary goal of mandatory minimums is to reduce the supply of illegal drugs, and deter individuals who distribute, deliver, sell, manufacture, or otherwise traffic drugs.

Ultimately, many feel that the mandatory minimum sentences imposed upon individuals convicted of drug crimes exhibit an element of racism, as studies have indicated that the number of white people prosecuted under federal crack sentencing laws are far less than those who are black, Asian, or of other ethnicities.

In most cases, a judge may not impose a sentence on an individual, which is shorter than the mandatory minimum set by Congress if the offense the individual committed carries a mandatory minimum. Mandatory minimum sentences for drug related offenses begin at five years and ten years, depending on the amount or weight of the drug involved.

For example, if you are convicted for a drug offense involving 100 kilos or 100 plants of marijuana, you will be sentenced to five years in prison without parole. However, if the offense involves 1,000 kilos or 1,000 plants, you will face a mandatory 10 years in prison without parole. These mandatory minimums apply to federal offenses involving LSD, crack and powder cocaine, heroin, PCP, methamphetamine and other drugs.

Additionally, other factors may affect mandatory minimum sentencing, including whether a drug crime was committed while in possession of a firearm, or the operation is a continuing criminal enterprise. For instance, if you are convicted of a drug crime and are found to be in possession of a firearm, mandatory minimums require that 5 years be added to your sentence.

Until recently, a huge disparity existed in regards to individuals found to possess crack and powder cocaine. Someone found to possess 50 grams of crack cocaine would be sentenced to 10 years in accordance with mandatory minimums, while an individual found in possession of powder cocaine would have to have 100 times the weight to trigger the same sentence. The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reduced this disparity, however many who are charged with a federal drug crime still face extremely harsh mandatory minimum sentences.

Contact an Aggressive and Capable Michigan Drug Crime Lawyer Today

If you have been arrested on federal drug crime charges, it is critical that you consult with an experienced Michigan drug crimes defense attorney. Our team will work vigorously to protect you from harsh mandatory minimum sentences; our top priority is to keep you out of prison, and protect your reputation and legal rights.

Contact Grabel & Associates for unsurpassed legal guidance and representation. We are available 24/7, and ready to discuss your case. Call us at 1-800-342-7896 today. Your future, reputation, and freedom are at stake; we will fight to protect you.


With drug crime defense attorneys statewide, Grabel & Associates defends people throughout Michigan charged with possession, intent to distribute, manufacturing, cultivation and illegal prescription drugs.