What Does Mandatory Minimum Mean?

If you are facing criminal charges, you may have heard of the term mandatory minimum. Mandatory minimum sentencing means a person convicted of a crime must be imprisoned for a minimum term, as opposed to leaving the length of punishment up to judges. Pennsylvania has many different mandatory minimum sentences on its books. In such a circumstance the Judge has no discretion to consider mitigating factors such as age, remorse, character witnesses, no prior record, etc.

Mandatory minimum sentencing laws force judges to deliver fixed sentences to individuals convicted of a crime, regardless of culpability or other mitigating factors. Those that oppose mandatory sentencing argue that this policy has contributed to prison overcrowding and has resulted in racial disparities in convictions. Under Pennsylvania law, mandatory minimum sentences are controlled by the District Attorney. If the District Attorney chooses not to impose the mandatory then it need not be imposed. This frequently occurs where a defendant cooperates with law enforcement or in plea-bargaining.

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we are experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys who have extensive trial experience. Our lead attorney, Roger Laguna, is a former policeman who knows what to expect from law enforcement officers and prosecutors. We are relentless in our efforts to protect the rights of people charged with serious crimes. Let us protect your constitutional rights.

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