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Justice Department Announces Tougher Sentences for Drug Crimes

Posted on in Drugs and Narcotics

Chicago criminal defense attorneyIn a recent memo, Unites States Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” when it comes to prosecuting drug crimes. This is a complete reversal of the direction drug crimes prosecution was going under the previous administration.

A Departure From Recent Years

Under the Obama administration, then-Attorney General Eric Holder ordered prosecutors to change the way they handled non-violent cases, including those involving drug charges, directing them to allow lower-level agencies—such as local and state prosecutors—to handle these types of cases. Over the past several years, as the drug epidemic has spread throughout the country, there has been more focus placed on criminal justice reform, particularly figuring out ways to get those facing drug charges the help and rehabilitation they need instead of just throwing them into prison. The Justice Department under the Trump administration, however, appears to be rolling back those reforms and instead, going back to harsher penalties and implementing mandatory minimum sentences. 

Although AG Sessions wrote that this new policy is aimed at drug traffickers and not low-level drug users, many criminal justice advocates fear these new rules are reminiscent of the tough-on-crime philosophy that was prevalent throughout the country throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Many say these new rules will not help with decreasing drug use, but will only result in overcrowded prisons and may intensify the racial imbalance already present in the legal system.

Have You Been Charged with a Drug Offense?

A conviction on drug charges can have far-reaching consequences on your future. Many felony drug convictions carry mandatory prison sentences. Even misdemeanor charges can result in jail time, as well as heavy fines. An arrest could even result in the state confiscating your vehicle if they can prove it was connected in any way to the crime.

Depending on the circumstances of the case, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate an agreement with prosecutors where the person charged is able to obtain treatment and avoid a jail sentence. There are also situations where an attorney may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed because of the way evidence was obtained by law enforcement.

If you have been arrested and charged with a drug crime, contact an experienced Chicago drug crimes defense attorney. Call 773-276-5541 to schedule a free consultation with a member of the team at Luisi Legal Group today.

 

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/12/528086525/sessions-tells-prosecutors-to-seek-most-serious-charges-stricter-sentences

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2013/08/12/211291336/timely-idea-holder-to-pitch-changes-to-drug-enforcement

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