If you were to look at the homepage of our website, you would see examples of how some of our clients have received sentence reductions due to resentencing. One of our clients was initially sentenced to 200 months, then it was reduced to 160—and was ultimately reduced to time served after 107 months. That’s almost eight years of someone’s life. If you saw that and have a beloved family member or friend serving a sentence, you would want to know how this process works and whether they are eligible to pursue it. 

Who Is Eligible?

The first step is contacting a criminal defense attorney with experience in these cases. Although they will walk you through the process if you are eligible, we will still explain what that looks like. After a person is convicted of a crime and receives a sentence, your attorney may be able to file a motion for resentencing. It is important to note that we are strictly discussing federal cases, which can differ from state crimes. In federal court, a term of imprisonment may be reduced, after sentencing, where a defendant has provided “substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person.” This reduction will also allow the court to reduce your sentence below any statutory minimum mandatory sentence.  

What does  substantial assistance” mean?

A person provides “substantial assistance” to the government when they give valuable information to law enforcement regarding criminal activity of which they are aware. This could come in the way of information against a co-defendant, potentially testifying in trial on behalf of the government or giving information to help law enforcement investigate other individuals and crimes. The government is the only entity that can evaluate a person’s cooperation and will only file a motion if they feel that the information was of such quality that it deserves a reduction in sentence. This can, oftentimes, be difficult for individuals because that means there are no guarantees. A person could want to cooperate and have a desire to give information, but simply cooperating and speaking with law enforcement will not automatically guarantee that the person will be eligible for a motion to reduce sentence. It will ultimately be a leap of faith. But, if the motion gets filed, then it will be up to the Judge to determine: 1) whether to grant the motion; and 2) if granted, how much of a reduction should be given. The Court will take recommendations from both sides and make the ultimate decision. 

Continue This Conversation with an Attorney The attorneys at Puglisi Caramés have fought for and obtained sentence reductions for our clients. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation if you have additional questions about getting a reduced sentence.