Miami Criminal Attorney
We Defend the Bill of Rights
One Case at a Time® since 1974.
Free Consultation 305.670.9919 En Español

Do I Qualify for the Federal Sentencing “Safety Valve” Exception?


When it comes to sentencing defendants who have been convicted of certain federal offenses, courts are generally required to implement a strict guideline of minimum mandatory sentences. Fortunately, there are some instances, in which a judge can issue a sentence that differs from these guidelines, so if you have been charged in federal court, it’s a good idea to have a thorough understanding of the potential penalties that you face and whether the judge would be required to issue a mandatory minimum sentence. For help with these, and other defense-related issues, please contact a member of our dedicated federal crime legal team for advice.

Avoiding Minimum Mandatory Sentencing 

One of the ways that a defendant can avoid a minimum mandatory sentence is to provide the prosecutor with substantial assistance by providing them with valuable information on other crimes. However, defendants can only escape a minimum mandatory sentence in these cases if the prosecutor deems the information worthy and files a substantial assistance motion on their behalf.  Fortunately, there is another method of avoiding mandatory sentencing, known as the safety valve. This term refers to a provision located in the U.S. criminal code that specifically allows federal judges to sentence a person to below the minimum mandatory required by law.

Eligibility for the Safety Valve 

In order to be eligible for application of the safety valve provision, a defendant must be able to prove that:

  • He or she doesn’t have more than one criminal history point;
  • He or she didn’t use violence, threats of violence, or a firearm in connection with the crime;
  • The offense in question didn’t result in serious bodily injury or death;
  • He or she was not a leader or organizer of others in the offense and was not involved in a continuing criminal enterprise; and
  • He or she has cooperated with the government in truthfully providing prosecutors with all of the information and evidence that he or she has concerning the crime.

Fortunately, the fact that a defendant doesn’t have useful information to provide to the government, won’t keep a defendant from qualifying for this exception. Finally, only those who are convicted of certain types of crimes are eligible for the safety valve, namely those that involve:

  • The manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance prohibited under 21. U.S.C. 841;
  • The possession of a controlled substance, which is prohibited under 21 U.S.C. 844;
  • Importing or exporting a controlled substance, as prohibited under 21 U.S.C. 960; or
  • Attempting or conspiring to commit one of these acts, which is prohibited under both 21 U.S.C. 846 and 21 U.S.C. 963.

To qualify for the safety valve exception, a defendant must be convicted under one of these five statutes.

Contact Our Legal Team Today  

Please contact dedicated Miami federal crime attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. at 305-670-9919 to learn more about your pending charges and the consequences of conviction. You can also reach a member of our team by sending us an online message containing your contact information and a brief description of your case.


Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google Plus
Miami Criminal Attorneys

9130 South Dadeland Blvd
Miami, Florida 33156

Telephone: 305-670-9919
Fax: 305-670-9299

Miami Abogado Criminal Jeffrey S. Weiner website - Delitos de Negocios, Delitos de Drogas y Apelaciones

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linked In
  • Instagram

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from

We Defend the Bill of Rights
One Case at a Time® since 1974.
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2017 Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Attorney at Law. All rights reserved.
This law firm website is managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab