It is possible to reduce the amount of time you will spend in prison. You will need the right set of facts and circumstances to reach this goal. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines establish the presumptive prison sentence in every serious felony case. The determination of the sentence is based on the severity level of the offense and your criminal history score. In order to avoid a presumptive prison sentence, a Minnesota criminal defense attorney will need to file a motion with the court seeking a downward durational departure. The sentencing judge will assess the unique circumstances of your case and determine if the facts of the crime were atypical, dissimilar or different from the usual statutory offense. The atypical factors must be “substantial” and “compelling” in order to justify the downward durational departure. The judge is required to provide written reasons explaining why a downward durational departure was a more appropriate and reasonable sentence in your case than the presumptive sentence.

I recently represented a person charged with selling three ounces of crack cocaine to a confidential informant who was working for the police. The presumptive prison sentence under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines was 110 months. We filed a motion for a downward durational departure with the sentencing judge. The court granted the motion and imposed a sentence of 60 months, a downward durational departure of close to 4 years less prison time. We argued that this was not the typical drug dealer case as the police had induced the sale through the use of the confidential informant. Over 11 years had elapsed since his last felony conviction. Also, the informant was given more favorable treatment than the defendant as he was not charge with possession of heroin and cocaine recovered during a drug raid. In addition, we had the support of the probation officer who recommended less time than called for by the Guidelines.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a serious felony offense and is facing prison time, you will need an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney. Robert J. Shane has 31 years of experience available for your defense. Call NOW for a free phone consultation at (612) 339-1024 or visit my website for more tips at