Mandatory Sentencing Minimums

Last year the United States Sentencing Commission found that more than half (56.8%) of offenders in federal prison were convicted of an offense carrying a mandatory minimum penalty. If you have been convicted of a crime with a mandatory minimum sentence please contact a federal criminal defense attorney in Tampa. Our dedicated team can help you better understand the guidelines of mandatory sentencing minimums and ensure that you receive proper representation.

What Are Mandatory Minimums?

Mandatory minimums are sentences that require a minimum of prison time served. Mandatory minimums are only imposed on specific federal crimes. These minimums are strictly enforced, and a sentence cannot be lowered if it falls under the mandatory minimum category. These minimums remove a judge’s discretion and prevent judges from fitting the punishment to the individual.

What Type of Offenses Do Mandatory Minimums Apply to?

Mandatory minimum sentencing applies to the following offenses:

  • • Identity Theft
  • • Gun Charges
  • • Fraud/Bribery/White Collar
  • • Bank Robbery/Racketeering/Organized Crime
  • • Kidnapping
  • • Bringing in or Harboring Certain Aliens
  • • Murder/Crimes Against Children
  • • Drug Trafficking
  • • Drug Importation & Exportation
  • • Sex Offenses/Child Pornography
  • • Three Strikes Law
  • • Weapons/Explosives/Airplane Hijacking
  • • Piracy
  • • Stalking in violation of a restraining order
  • • Treason

How Do Mandatory Minimums Apply?

Most mandatory minimums involve possession and intent. Under the Controlled Substance and Controlled Substance Import and Export Acts, sentencing for drug crimes is based on the amount and type of drug involved.

Substances such as heroin, cocaine, crack, PCP, LSD, methamphetamine, and marijuana are all recipients of a mandatory minimum. In addition to how much of a substance you have on you, you can also receive mandatory minimums for trafficking these drugs. The minimum increases if the transaction results in death or serious bodily injury.

For example, if you are convicted of trafficking a substance, like 280 grams of crack or more, and this is your first offense, the minimum sentence is 10 years in prison. But if death or serious injury results or if you are a repeat offender, then the minimum is 20 years in prison. If you are a repeat offender, then the minimum increases.

Can a Mandatory Minimum Be Increased?

The Supreme Court decided in Alleyne v. the United States that increasing a mandatory minimum sentence requirement can be done as long as it is submitted by a jury and found factual beyond a reasonable doubt.

In Florida, momentum has grown to rewrite laws that guarantee long sentences for low-level offenders but until then, contact a federal defense attorney in Tampa to help you navigate your federal case.

For a free consultation with an experienced federal defense attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm at (813) 370-1185 or submit our contact request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Case Results

DUI Hillsborough County Dropped

The Defendant was stopped by law enforcement for going the wrong way on a one-way street. After performing poorly on the exercises, the Defendant was arrested for DUI where he blew over a .15 on
Show More


The Client arrested for nine counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Providing a False Name to a Law Enforcement Officer, and No Valid Driver’s License. Attorney Anthony Rickman immediately contacted the
Show More


The Client was arrested and charged with Possession of Cocaine after being stopped by law enforcement for speeding and upon being stopped, the law enforcement officer conducted a search of the Client’s vehicle where they
Show More