In a prison commit case, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines prescribe a range for the sentence that “is presumed to be appropriate.” The idea is to maintain uniformity and proportionality in sentencing for all defendants with similar charges and criminal histories. A district court judge in Minnesota may depart downward from the presumptive guideline prison commit sentence upon a showing of “substantial and compelling circumstances.” Even if there are grounds to justify a downward durational departure a judge is not obligated to grant the departure. In order to support a durational departure, the criminal defense attorney must be able to show the judge that the defendant’s conduct is less serious than that typically involved in the type of crime being sentenced. Offense related circumstances may justify a downward durational departure. For example, when a defendant is being sentenced on a first-degree sale of a controlled substance case, the attorney must be able to show that the defendant’s conduct was significantly less serious than other first-degree sale cases. Perhaps he was only the middle man agreeing to hold on to the controlled substance for the seller or he was addicted to the drug and made the sale to support his habit. Instead of a 65-month sentence, you may receive 10 months less on a departure motion.
If you are charged with a serious crime calling for a prison commit in Minnesota, you will need an experienced Minneapolis criminal defense attorney to protect your freedom. Call me now at (612) 339-1024 for a free phone consultation.