Mandatory minimums are mandatory prison terms that you must serve if convicted of a certain crime. Most of these crimes are related to weapons and drugs. Mandatory minimums treat both violent and nonviolent criminals similarly. This article will go over how some of the mandatory minimum charges operate and how they may affect you.
For example, federal law has a variety of mandatory minimum sentences for gun possession that range from five to 30 years depending upon the nature of the charge. Many of these sentences must be served consecutively, as opposed to concurrently. A consecutively served sentence means that you must serve each individual sentence one after another. A concurrent sentence allows you to serve all of them at the same time.
Unfortunately, this can result in incredibly long sentences, even for nonviolent crimes. For example, if you are arrested dealing drugs out of your home and during a search, the police discover a weapon, they can add additional weapons charges on top of the drug charges. This could mean you face a mandatory additional five years, even if it was unconnected to the underlying crime. These charges can quickly add up to enormous sentences. Additionally, because they are mandatory, you will have to serve most of your sentence before you become eligible for parole. The result is that you could spend decades behind bars for relatively minor offenses.
These charges are serious and could land you in prison for many years. If you are facing charges that have mandatory minimums, you probably want to contact a defense lawyer. Many times these charges are outside of the judge’s discretion which means only the prosecutor can reduce the years you face. It is never a good idea to rely on the prosecutor. Mandatory minimums are an ongoing debate for weapons, drugs and other crimes. Until that debate is resolved, you want to avoid these charges.