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"Drugs Minus Two" Law Reduces Federal Drug Sentences

Approximately 50,000 people convicted of federal drug offenses can have their sentences reduced under the "drugs minus two" amendment passed by the U.S. Sentencing Commission in July 2014.

Get Your Prison Time Reduced by an Average of Two Years

"Drugs minus two" refers to lowering a person's punishment by two levels under the sentencing guidelines. As Adam Klasfeld reports for Courthouse News Service, this will likely reduce sentences by roughly two years per person, on average. The amendment falls under USSG §1B1.10 and was passed by unanimous vote.

Release Date is November 2015

Eligible people will not be able to get out of prison immediately. Though courts can begin to grant motions for release as of November 2014, the Sentencing Commission set the actual release date to November 2015, to give the Bureau of Prisons and police agencies time to get ready.

Retroactive Effect for Nonviolent Drug Offenses Involving Possession or Sale

Jerry Cox, outgoing head of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), wrote in an email newsletter that "drugs minus two" already applies to future drug offense cases.

"What they did on Friday," Cox wrote in reference to the Sentencing Commission, "was simply apply this fairer and more rational thinking to those who had already been sentenced and have been serving draconian sentences, at great public expense, in America's federal prison system."

File a Petition for Early Release

Cases will be reviewed individually, which means that every person who wants early release will need to file a petition. Judges and probation officers will review peoples' petitions and case files, according to Klasfeld, and will ultimately "decide on their fates on a case-by-case basis."

Call a Lawyer for Help with Filing a Petition

Whether you consult a trial lawyer with Suzuki Law Offices in Phoenix or another experienced criminal defense lawyer elsewhere, you should consider getting help with filing a petition for early release.

We can help you make your case.

If your friend or family member was convicted of a nonviolent drug offense (like possession or sale) and is currently serving time in federal prison, use our online form to request a free consultation.

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