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AG reverses direction for seeking mandatory minimums

It has long been argued that we have lost the so-called “war on drugs.” Prisons are overcrowded with non-violent drug offenders; police are spending massive resources of enforcing drug laws many people consider heavy-handed; people’s families and livelihoods are destroyed with a single, non-violent drug offense.

However, in recent years, prison populations have been declining and prosecutors have had flexibility when charging people accused of crimes like drug offenses. But, that is all changing under the Trump administration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced that he is directing all federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges they can.

This means that if you are accused of a federal drug offense in California, you could very well be facing far more severe penalties than you might have just a couple weeks ago. 

As this CNN article notes, former Attorney General Eric Holder previously directed federal prosecutors to avoid charging someone with an offense that carries mandatory minimum sentences, unless the case is particularly serious or high-level.

With the release of Sessions' memo, prosecutors are now instructed to "pursue the most serious, readily provable offense."

Supporters of the move say that being tough on all crime is necessary to preserve justice; critics argue that this move will do little more than exacerbate prison overpopulation and strap people with a lengthy prison sentence and destroy their lives unnecessarily.

Regardless of which side of the argument you may be on, the fact is that people facing federal charges are already at a disadvantage. The federal government has massive resources as its disposal, and now prosecutors are more motivated than ever to seek the maximum penalties allowed by law.

In order to level the playing field and fight to protect your rights and your future, it will be crucial that you secure competent legal counsel if prosecutors charge you with a federal drug crime. The stakes in these cases are as high as they have ever been, so taking advantage of all the resources available is critical.

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