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Criminal Law Blog

New Sentencing Bill Will Help Prosecutors Coerce Guilty Pleas From Drug Defendants

November 30, 2015

It’s already easy enough for attorneys do coerce a guilty plea from a defendant in a drug case: 97% of federal drug defendants end up pleading guilty. If that number sounds high, prepare for it to possibly go higher thanks to the new Sentencing Reform and Correction Act. Although there is a lot of excitement regarding this bill and its apparent benefits, like allowing people sentenced unfairly to possibly earn a sentence reduction, the act also gives prosecutors more power to force even more guilty pleas from drug defendants.

Currently, defendants in drug cases are coerced into pleading guilty due to the prosecution’s insistence on unfair punishments if the defendant refuses to plead guilty. In this case, “unfair” could mean life in prison for a simple felony drug conviction if the defendant already has been convicted twice. Basically, defendants are forced to choose between the already excessive 10 year sentence for a single drug conviction, or going to trial and possibly being sentenced to life, so it’s no surprise that so many drug defendants end up pleading guilty to avoid the possibility of life in prison. The power to hand down these types of sentences isn’t being limited by this act, it is being bolstered: and other crimes, like robbery, are now being added to the list of offenses that can result in these excessive sentences. This act is indicative of a continuing trend of unfair sentencing for people convicted of drug offenses, and incredibly enough, while the act claims to allow people sentenced unfairly, it still reinforces and enhances the practice of unfair sentencing.

It’s easy for prosecutors to force defendants into guilty pleas: that’s why you need an experienced and effective Tucson criminal defense attorney like Janet Altschuler. For over 20 years, Janet Altschuler has been standing up for clients accused of drug possession, robbery, domestic violence, and numerous other crimes. She is a responsive and formidable attorney who promises to treat all of her clients with respect and dignity. If you have been accused of a drug-related crime and you need someone in your corner, call the Tucson law offices of Janet Altschuler at 520-829-4460 or contact us online. Don’t let yourself be coerced into a guilty plea: call Janet today.

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