Change Day for Federal Sentencing Guidelines
Every November 1, amendments to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines go into effect. Most of the talk this year has been about the reduction for crack cocaine penalties, which are minimal and don't apply to offenses committed before August 3, 2010 (although one judge in Maine last week said he'd apply them to someone awaiting sentencing on August 3.)
And many drug defendants, including those sentenced for drugs other than crack, may get higher sentences under the enhancements that Congress Passed as part of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.
But, there is one change that applies to all defendants that may be helpful. For the first time, those at Level 13 with a Category 1 criminal history (no more than 1 point), with a guideline range of 12-18 months, don't have to get a prison sentence. That's because the Commission moved Level 13 from Zone D, where it's been since 1987 or whenever the zones were established, to Zone C. All Zone D sentences must be to prison. In Zone C, alternative sentences are possible. [More...]
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