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Law strengthened to enhance sentences for repeat offenders

Criminal allegations means different things to different people; however, it is likely an overwhelming and stressful time for anyone no matter the severity of the crime. For those with a criminal history, facing a criminal charge can be more problematic, as it is likely that past convictions could result in more serious penalties if a conviction occurs. Therefore, those facing drug charges should understand how current laws could impact sentencing.

Recently, the Supreme Court augmented a federal law designed to enhance sentences for repeat offenders for serious crimes. And in a recent case, the Florida court backed the government and found that robbery under Florida law would qualify as a crime of physical force. This then can trigger the Armed Career Criminal Act. This 1984 law targets repeat offenders, causing sentence enhancements for offenders who unlawfully possess a firearm and have been convicted of three drug crimes or other serious felonies.

In this matter, the Florida man argued that his unarmed robbery conviction should not have triggered this law; however, the justices found that it meets the physical force necessary to overcome a victim's resistance. Thus, it qualifies as a violent crime under the federal law. Without this federal law, his sentencing would have been roughly 70 to 87 months. However, with this law, he faces 180 to 188 months.

Whether this is your first criminal allegation or not, each and every time a person is accused of a drug crime, he or she is afforded the right to defend him or herself. Thus, it is important to fully understand the matter at hand and how a defendant can best defend themselves. Taking timely action to initiate a defense could help the accused reduce or dismiss the charges against them, helping to clear his or her name.

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