Do I Qualify for the Safety Valve in terms of my Federal Sentence?

Criminal Sentencing/Punishments | Drugs

Punishment for federal criminal offenses can be harsh. If you are charged with a federal crime it is important to hire an attorney with experience with and knowledge of the federal sentencing guidelines.

Many offenses carry mandatory minimum sentences which is a minimum sentence that a judge must impose. For example a drug offense may carry a minimum 10 year sentence up to life in prison. The Safety Valve was enacted to provide relief for harsh mandatory minimum sentences.

The safety valve is set forth in 5C1.2 of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. It is important to note that the safety valve only applies to federal drug offenses. It provides relief from the mandatory minimum sentence if the defendant has little to no criminal history (which is defined as 0 or 1 criminal history points) and if the defendant truthfully discloses everything he knows about the crime he committed prior to sentencing. The defendant must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the safety valve:

(1) the defendant does not have more than 1 criminal history point, as determined under
the sentencing guidelines;

(2) the defendant did not use violence or credible threats of violence or possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon (or induce another participant to do so) in connection with the offense;

(3) the offense did not result in death or serious bodily injury to any person;

(4) the defendant was not an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor of others in the offense, as determined under the sentencing guidelines and was not engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise, as defined in section 408 of the Controlled SubstancesAct; and

(5) not later than the time of the sentencing hearing, the defendant has truthfully provided to the Government all information and evidence the defendant has concerning the offense or offenses that were part of the same course of conduct or of a common scheme or plan, but the fact that the defendant has no relevant or useful other information to provide or that the Government is already aware of the information shall not preclude a determination by the court that the defendant has complied with this requirement.

If a defendant is eligible for the safety valve, the sentencing judge has the ability to sentence under the mandatory minimum sentence. It is imperative if you or someone you know is charged with a federal crime to contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to defend and guide you through this complicated process.

Attorney Madrid on Felony & Misdemeanor Drug Cases

Criminal Defense | Drugs | Search and Seizure | Video Q & A

Whether you’ve been charged with the possession of a small amount of marijuana or arrested for a major cocaine distribution conspiracy, it helps to have an experienced Houston drug crimes lawyer with a résumé including 1000’s of drug cases on your side.

Do you trust the government?

I didn’t think so.

This is why it’s very important that we have criminal defense attorneys otherwise everyone would be guilty at arrest, as charged. Police make mistakes all the time, and only a lawyer with 10’s of thousands of hours of experience dissecting arrest reports in contrast with witness testimony and evidence under the scope of a keen understanding of the law, could spot a seemingly minor detail that could lead to freeing a suspect accused of trafficking 1000’s of kilos of cocaine.

Minor details that could lead to a dismissed case could rise out of one of the situations listed below.

  • The lawyer knowing of alternative sentences that can keep you out of prison.
  • Did the police have the right to make that traffic stop?
  • Did the police lawfully search the vehicle or your person?
  • Were your Constitutional Rights violated?
  • Did law enforcement have probable cause to invade a residence?
  • Did the police make mistakes, or an unlawful arrest?

Are you looking for a qualified criminal defense attorney in Houston to discuss drug crime arrest details with at no charge? Call me to schedule a review of your case at 713-877-9400 today.

Mario Madrid on Juvenile Crime

Criminal Defense | Drugs | DWI | Video Q & A

In this video presentation, Houston lawyer for criminal defense Mario Madrid, an attorney Board Certified to practice criminal law, sheds light on his passion for fighting on behalf of his clients and winning cases, in the court of law.

One of the more interesting facets of Mario Madrid’s oration is his pride in winning cases and relieving stress related to facing the State of Texas on criminal cases from the shoulders of his clients. Especially his younger clients, many of which would rightfully be concerned with the removal of criminal and arrest records from their background.

If you need to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney in Houston about a criminal charge you have to address in Harris County, TX, call our criminal law firm by dialing 713-877-9400, or by simply pressing the number to call us if you are viewing this page from a cell phone.

Crystal Meth Facts: The Truth Behind Crystal Meth


Methamphetamine or “meth” is a central nervous system stimulant containing powerful addictive properties. The drug is sometimes prescribed in small quantities for medical conditions such as attention deficit disorder (ADD) or obesity. However, many individuals use it for recreational purposes and quickly become dependent on the effects of the drug.

Long-Term Effects of Meth

The most severe effects of long-term use of meth include addiction, which leads to more frequent use and larger doses as the body develops a tolerance to the drug over time. To achieve the same results, the abusers begin using different methods of administration combined with heavier loads. A prolonged use of meth results in molecular and functional changes in the brain that can lead to violent behaviors, delusions and psychosis. As the addiction progresses, a severe weight loss is noted along with confusion and anxiety.

The Popularity of Meth

Methamphetamine is known for its immediate euphoric and energizing effects. Due to its rising popularity within the past few decades, illegal meth labs that produce and sell large quantities of meth can be found all over the U.S. This profitable business is typically found in abandoned homes, old factories or other decrepit types of property. As the users become increasingly dependent on the drug, they seek out ways to support their habits and often contact meth labs for supplies. The most common indications of a meth lab include the following:

  • Strong, unusual odors
  • Covered windows
  • Frequent traffic during the night
  • Large amounts of trash including chemicals such as antifreeze


Possible Penalties for Running a Meth Lab

The recreational production of any drug, including meth, is against the law and can result in severe drug charges. The accused may be sentenced to 10 to 99 years of prison time and fees of up to $100,000. Each case heavily depends on the amount of drugs in possession and the evidence of the offender’s intentions to distribute and sell the drugs. In Texas, methamphetamine is categorized under the Penalty Group I and carries the most severe punishment options.

All drug possession convictions result in a suspension of a driver license for at least six months and may include the seizure of the car and other properties.

The Defense Options

It is imperative to contact the law firm immediately upon arrest to alleviate the possibility of self-incriminating. An aggressive criminal defense attorney will help the accused to understand both federal and state laws and prepare the case for the trial. Controlled substance charges require a well structured defense plan to protect the offender’s legal rights.

To avoid serious implications when charged will illegal controlled substance possession, call Madrid Law today at 713-877-9400 and speak with a seasoned attorney today.

What Are The Federal Drug Sentencing Guidelines?


The below article was written courtesy of The Rosenblum Law Group.

If you have been charged with a federal drug offense then it is important that you read this article to get a better understanding of federal drug charges and their penalties.  The federal court system can be quite complex and a federal drug conviction can result in pretty severe penalties.  Your best option is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney that can advise you about your options and represent you in federal court.

The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, is a United States federal law that classifies narcotics, marijuana and other controlled substances into five classes or schedules.  The schedules allow judges to classify the drugs and attach the required penalties.  The Act also establishes the requirements relating to the manufacture and distribution of drugs and also defines the penalties for federal drug law violations.  Criminal penalties are imposed based on the type of drug involved and the quantity involved.

What Kind Of Drug Crimes Are Considered Federal Offenses?

There are a number of scenarios in which a person can be charged with a federal drug crime.  Crimes can escalate from a state charge to a federal charge rather quickly.  Generally the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) helps investigate drug crimes and enforces federal drug laws.  Federal charges are considered felony crimes which allow for more severe penalties.  Some of the most commons federal drug charges include:

  • Drug trafficking: the manufacturing, distributing and possessing of a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute.  Usually the accused has crossed state lines, or was caught with drugs at an airport  with a large enough quantity of the drugs that intent to distribute was apparent.
  • Manufacturing controlled substances: involves operating a place or facility for the purpose of manufacturing and distributing drugs.

What Are The Federal Sentencing Guidelines For Drug Related Crimes?

In 1984, Congress gave authority to the United States Sentencing Commission to create written guidelines for all federal crimes in an effort to provide more proportional sentencing for similar criminal situations.  Prior to 2005, judges were forced to strictly adhere to the sentencing guidelines and had limited secretion to deviate from the mandatory minimum sentences.  The Supreme Court decided in the Booker v. United States that judges will be granted more flexibility and should sentence individuals no greater than necessary to achieve the purpose of punishment.

It should be noted however that if certain relevant factors exist in a person’s case such as a high quantity of drugs or weapons were involved then the judge will have little discretion to avoid the mandatory minimum for sentencing guidelines.  Generally a judge does have some discretion to avoid imposing the mandatory minimums in cases where the person accused of the drug charge is a nonviolent, low-level, first time offender that did not carry a weapon and cooperated with the government to provide any and all information related to the case.  For a detailed listing of the Federal Sentencing guidelines related to drug offenses please refer to the following chart.  

If you are being charged with a federal drug crime, your first call should be to a licensed criminal defense attorney that can help your fight the charges.

Author Bio

Adam Rosenblum is a licensed criminal attorney in the Federal Courts in both New York and New Jersey.

What is a Confidential Informant?

Criminal Defense | Drugs

Being on trial for drug charges is an extremely serious matter. If convicted of a drug crime, the sentence can mean years in prison and very high fines. Government officials know that someone arrested on a serious drug charge will be worried about these punishments, and they will use this fact to gain leverage. The decision to comply with cooperation requests can completely alter the rest of the trial. The individual under arrest must decide whether or not to cooperate quickly. Any delay could mean the loss of a chance at a reduced sentence.

The Debriefing Process

When someone decides to cooperate with the government in a drug case, a specific process is set into motion. Although each case is different, this process will generally unfold according to certain standard procedures. First, the prosecution and police will set up a debriefing. A debriefing consists of an interrogative session between the person under arrest and law enforcement. Next, the defendant’s attorney will secure a special letter, known as a proffer letter, that will ensure that any information that the defendant provides cannot be used against him.

During the debriefing, law enforcement agents will ask the defendant to provide information that they already possess. This is done to determine if the defendant will be truthful. It can also get agents information that they do not already know. If the defendant provides new information, further sessions will be conducted to compile cases against other individuals. This type of information gathering is used by the federal government to accomplish most of their actions against drug distributors, and they are usually willing to greatly reduce a sentence for someone who offers good information.

The Risks of Being an Informant

For the most part, a defendant who cooperates in a drug conspiracy case will be protected by the government. However, the decision to cooperate carries a significant amount of risk. For example, a person who is arrested as a result of information provided by another person cooperating with law enforcement can sometimes, by deduction, figure out the identity of the person who pointed them out. Also, an attorney can file a motion to attempt to force the government to identify the cooperating individual or that individual may be called as a witness at a trial. Any of these scenarios can bring serious risk to someone cooperating with the government.

Drug criminals can be very dangerous people and, in the criminal community, no one is reviled more than a “snitch.” This is why it is so important for anyone arrested on drug charges to contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible.

To find out more about the process of cooperating with the government in a drug conspiracy case, talk to Madrid Law at 713-877-9400.

Former NFL Player Charged With Drug Possession


Johnny Jolly, a defensive end for the Green Bay Packers who has been suspended by the NFL for a prior drug possession case, has been arrested and charged with possession of a narcotic compound containing codeine and other substances, a felony. He was also charged with a felony of concealing codeine while he was being investigated Saturday. Jolly played his college ball at Texas A&M. To read the story click here.

According to court records, the drug charge is First Degree Felony, Possession of a Penalty Group 4 Controlled Substance over 400 grams. First Degree felonies carry a range of punishment of 5-99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

If you are someone you know if need of the legal services of a Houston Drug Crimes Attorney, call Texas Board Certified Attorney for criminal defense, Mario Madrid, at 713-877-9400.