On December 19, President Obama commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates sentenced under the old drug sentence laws for their crack cocaine offenses. Each of the inmates had served approximately 15 years in federal prison. At least two of the inmates received life in prison for their drug crimes conviction. This is the first time retroactive relief was given to inmates who would have received a lesser sentence under the current drug crimes laws.
Click here to find out more about a case involving drugs in Arizona.
The eight inmates will be freed in about 120 days. In a statement released by the White House, Mr. Obama explained that the men and women were sentenced for drug crimes under an “unfair system.” This system included a sentence disparity between inmates convicted for crack cocaine verses power cocaine. The disparity was reduced under the Fair Sentencing Act signed into law in 2010. In fact, there has been a movement away from providing mandatory minimum sentencing created during the crack epidemic in the U.S. Drug crimes have actually decreased to the lowest levels in approximately 40 years.
It is not known if the individuals who had their sentences commuted has adequate legal representation. However, one thing is certain. Having a lawyer to represent you is vital. If these inmates did not commit drug crimes, then they were put in prison for doing nothing wrong. If they tried to prove their innocence on their own, the outcome was a prison sentence. When facing drug crimes, it’s important to have an attorney who will fight to prove your innocence or get charges reduced. Our attorneys have experience in representing clients facing drug charges.
What does Mr. Obama’s announcement mean for anyone facing drug crimes in Arizona now? Nothing. If you are facing drug crimes you need to start fighting your case now. Contact Maasen Law Firm for a free consultation today.
Fighting Drug Crimes in Arizona
Mr. Obama commuted the sentence of inmates convicted of federal drug crimes not state drug crimes. Arizona has its own laws regarding drug crimes. For instance, the state outlines the use of possession of a dangerous drug under A.R.S. 13-3407. It prohibits an individual from using or knowingly possessing a dangerous drug like crack cocaine, antidepressant or methamphetamine.
A.R.S. 13-3406, 13-3407(A) and 13-3408(A)(3) refers to the manufacture of dangerous drugs. This law makes it unlawful to possess equipment or manufacture dangerous drugs in the state. Per A.R.S. 13-3407(A)(2) and 13-3407(A)(7) makes it unlawful to possess drugs for transportation for sale or sale. In other words, it is against the law to knowingly have dangerous drugs in your possess to sale or transport them for sale.
There are a lot of drug crimes not discussed here. If you are facing any of the above crimes or one not listed, contact Maasen Law Firm. We will fight your case.
Arizona Penalties Differ From Federal Penalties
These eight inmates were lucky. Their sentences were commuted. However, many Arizona inmates aren’t that lucky. If they are convicted of drug crimes, they may have to complete their entire time. For example, possession of drugs for sale or transportation of drugs for sale is punishable by:
- One year in jail.
- Three to 12.5 years in prison.
Therefore, individuals must fight their case before it gets to the point where they are sentenced to prison time. Mr. Obama may not have commuted sentences for Arizona inmates, but it is important to remember legal counsel is your first defense to avoiding a prison sentence.