Justice Reinvestment Act

Maryland Mandatory Minimum Sentences Repealed Under House Bill 1312

It is not uncommon for repeat drug offenders in Maryland to be sentenced to spend anywhere between 10 – 40 years in prison without parole. Fortunately, on October 1, 2017, prisoners in Maryland serving mandatory minimum sentences for repeat drug offenses will have the opportunity to file a petition and have their sentence reviewed. Mandatory minimum sentences are to be abolished as of October 1, 2017. This means any inmate currently serving a mandatory minimum sentence will have the opportunity to file for a sentence review before September 30, 2018.

Time is of the essence in having mandatory minimum sentences reviewed. Contact our Essex MD criminal attorneys for legal representation by dialing (410) 321-8860. We can help you have your sentenced reduced in accordance with House Bill 1312. Read on to learn more.

House Bill 1312 Overview

The key focus of House Bill 1312 is to ensure serious and violent offenders serve prison sentences. The bill will eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and increase criminal penalties for gang and organized crime leaders. Under previous mandatory sentencing minimum requirements, a subsequent drug conviction would result in a mandatory 10-year prison term without parole. Defendants with two prior convictions could spend at minimum 25-years in prison. If the defendant had three or more subsequent convictions, he/she could be sentenced to spend at minimum 40 years in prison. Such sentencing is outrageous for non-violent felonies.

HB 1312 is aimed at reducing the state’s prison population. The new bill will also help alleviate mandatory minimum sentencing disparities that have disproportionately impacted the African-American community. Under the new bill, the minimum age of parole will change from 65 to 60. Sentencing for driving with a suspended license will also be reduced in addition to subsequent non-violent drug offenders being eligible for parole.

Contact our Towson Maryland criminal defense law office to see if you are eligible to have your prison sentence reduced. With the 10-year mandatory minimum sentence no longer available, you may receive a shortened sentence and have your actual time served reduced. Currently, more than 1,600 prisoners serving long-term sentences in Maryland may qualify to have their sentence reduced under HB 1312.

Public Reception of House Bill 1312

Proponents of the bill strongly believe it will help address and treat the underlying causes of drug abuse.

“We’re trying to deal with addiction and drug abuse and come up with some sensible alternatives to incarceration,” Deputy District Public Defender Eric Reed said.

“The overarching goal of this legislation is to reduce prison populations by reducing recidivism through additional treatment and therapeutic programs for nonviolent offenders,” said Del. Brett Wilson, R-Washington, who is also an assistant state’s attorney. “It is intended to be a self-funding program, paid for by savings realized by the reduced populations.”

Proponents of HB 1312 also believe the state is following the right direction in implementing major criminal justice system reforms.

No state has gone as far as Maryland in recent memory,” said Gregory Newburn, the director of state policy at Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a national advocacy group.

At the bill-signing last month, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) called the legislation “the largest, most comprehensive criminal-justice reform in Maryland in a generation.”

We invite you to contact our Baltimore County criminal defense law office for legal representation. As your criminal defense attorneys we will review your sentence and represent you in petitioning to have it reduced. Do not delay in filing a petition. Doing so can impact your opportunity in being released from prison early.

Mr. Turnbull serves many areas of Maryland including Towson, Annapolis, Abingdon, Aberdeen, Bel Air, Carney, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Dundalk, Edgemere, Ellicott City, Essex, Glen Burnie, Havre De Grace, Luthersville, Owings Mills, Timonium, Pikesville, Randallstown, Reistertown, Odenton, Pasadena, Crownsville, Linthicum, Edgewater, Severna Park, Crofton, Jessup, Crofton, Columbia, Joppatowne, Edgewood, Fallston, Churchville, Columbia, Scaggsville, Fulton, Elkridge, NorthLaurel, White Marsh, Baltimore, North East, Chesapeake City and Elkton, Maryland.

Sources

How Maryland came to repeal mandatory minimums for drug offenders

Md. lawmakers poised to eliminate mandatory minimums