Defendant Entitled To Sentence Reduction For Possession With Intent To Deliver Conviction In United States v. Smith

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, ensuring your rights are protected at each step of the criminal defense process is necessary to limit the negative consequences on your future and your freedom. In the event of a conviction of any misdemeanor or felony offense – including accepting a plea bargain – your life will be impacted. Minimizing the effect becomes crucial to your future. An experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference.

A recent case involving a prison sentence for a drug crime revealed the importance of having an experienced Michigan criminal defense law firm fight for your freedom, even after you’ve been sentenced. In United States v. Smith, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the sentence handed down to a man – Cornell Smith – who was indicted on charges of conspiring to possess with intent to deliver cocaine. The 6th Circuit – which includes Michigan – reviewed the sentence of Smith’s plea agreement, which stipulated to 180 months of imprisonment based on an attached sentencing guideline. However, the agreement reflected guidelines that had been amended after the pre-sentencing report was filed, with the new guidelines calling for a shorter sentence.

Despite the amendments to the sentencing guidelines, the judge accepted the original sentence. Smith subsequently appealed, and argued for a sentence reduction. If you have received a sentence that is unfair, a Michigan criminal defense appeals attorney can identify issues that may overturn a conviction or reduce a sentence.

Here, relying on recent Supreme Court law the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals determined where a defendant enters into a plea agreement, he or she may seek a reduction in sentence where the sentencing guideline range has also been reduced. Imposing lengthier sentences on individuals convicted of any Michigan crime based on outdated guidelines would be unfair.

As explained in Smith, where “an agreement expressly uses a guideline sentencing range applicable to the charged offense to establish the term of imprisonment, and that range is subsequently lowered… the defendant is eligible for sentence reduction.”


Because Smith’s sentencing report was based on outdated sentencing guidelines, he was entitled to a sentencing reduction. As stated by the court, based on Smith’s minor criminal history and the seriousness of the drug trafficking offense, the sentence should be changed to reflect the lower end of the sentencing range.

The need for an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer doesn’t end at trial. Working with a dedicated defense attorney knowledgeable in criminal defense appeals and sentencing appeals can significantly minimize the impact of a criminal conviction on your future and your freedom.

For more information or to speak with an aggressive Michigan criminal defense law firm, contact the dedicated Michigan criminal trial attorneys at Grabel & Associates for prompt attention.

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