Minnesota officials debate on whether or not sentences for cases involving drugs need a change from current standards. Overcrowding and the national debate on lengthy sentences for drug offenders have prompted Minnesota to take a look at its guidelines and whether a revision is necessary. Minneapolis criminal defense lawyers are keeping watch on the proposed changes. The outcome will determine the course of action defense lawyers will take to defend their clients.
There is a rift between law enforcement and defense attorneys, as neither are on the same side of the issue. On the one side, prosecutors and law enforcement officials find that current sentencing guidelines are appropriate for reducing drug-related crimes, but on the other hand, defense attorneys believe that imprisoning drug offenders does little to resolve drug addiction problems facing them. Reducing these sentences are not a welcomed change for prosecutors. Defense attorneys eagerly await a transformation that they and others in the community feel are long overdue. Some in law enforcement find it a public safety issue to let a drug offender go in order to reduce overcrowding and cut prison costs. Many on the opposing side feel that placing offenders in a drug rehabilitation program is a more viable option than locking a person up for years.
Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission will decide on December 30th whether to continue long sentences for Minnesota drug-related criminals or offer reduced sentences with rehabilitation options for a person’s drug addiction. If approved, the change will be effective in August. It is possible that legislature could overturn guidelines proposed by the commission, or they could choose not to take action at all, which would automatically allow for new sentences to begin in August.
Changing these standards will make a non-violent drug offender less likely to spend a decade or two behind bars, but it will not negate the need for a great criminal defense lawyer who understands the changing laws. Please contact us to discuss your pending drug-related case.