Reducing a Federal Sentence

Federal charges for white collar crime, firearm and weapon offenses, or drug crimes can carry extremely harsh mandatory minimum sentences if a person is convicted. In certain cases, it may be possible for an alleged offender to receive a sentence below the mandatory minimum term by providing helpful information to the prosecution. This is referred to as “substantial assistance.”

Just as there can be tremendous benefits to providing “substantial assistance,” it is important to remember that there are also several risks in certain cases. A person needs to consider the dangers and possible consequences of attempting to help prosecutors identify co-conspirators, accessories, or masterminds of larger criminal schemes, as substantial assistance deals hinge more on the results gained form the information provided rather than the risks the alleged offender took in volunteering.

Dallas Federal Sentence Reduction Lawyer

If you are facing any type of federal charges and a prosecutor is offering you a substantial assistance deal, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who will work to ensure that you receive the most favorable outcome. Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy represents clients throughout Dallas County, including Balch Springs, Carrolton, Garland, Grand Prairie, Irving, Mesquite, and Richardson.

We also serve such nearby areas as Allen, Arlington, Denton, Fort Worth, Frisco, Lewisville, McKinney, and Plano. Call (972) 233-5700 right now to let our firm review your case during a free legal consultation.


Federal Sentence Reduction Information Center


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Substantial Assistance vs. Safety Valve Provision

Certain federal offenses preclude judges from sentencing at a lower guideline range minimum or granting a downward departure that would otherwise be available. However, there are two statutory provisions that can create a lesser sentence in these cases:

  • Substantial Assistance — Applies to all crimes carrying mandatory minimum sentences, but sole authority to make motions for sentences below mandatory minimum terms rests entirely with prosecutor if alleged offender provides information that leads to the investigation or prosecution of others.
  • Safety Valve Provision — Applies only in drug offenses if a low-level, nonviolent alleged drug offender meets all five of the requirements listed under Title 18 U.S. Code § 3553(f):
    • The alleged offender does not have more than one criminal history point, as determined under the sentencing guidelines
    • The alleged offender 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
    • The alleged offense did not result in death or serious bodily injury to any person
    • The alleged offender 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
    • Not later than the time of the sentencing hearing, the alleged offender truthfully provided all information and evidence the defendant has concerning the alleged offense or offenses that were part of the same course of conduct or of a common scheme or plan

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5K Motions

In cases involving substantial assistance, a “5K Motion” is filed before sentencing by a prosecutor under §5K1.1 of the United States Sentencing Commission Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Any reduction in a sentence is determined by the five following factors:

  • The court’s evaluation of the significance and usefulness of the alleged offender’s assistance, taking into consideration the government’s evaluation of the assistance rendered
  • The truthfulness, completeness, and reliability of any information or testimony provided by the alleged offender
  • The nature and extent of the alleged offender’s assistance
  • Any injury suffered, or any danger or risk of injury to the alleged offender or his family resulting from his assistance
  • The timeliness of the alleged offender’s assistance

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Rule 35 Motions

Whereas 5K Motions are filed before sentencing, a Rule 35 Motion is filed after sentencing. Found in Title VII of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 35(b) allows a prosecutor to file a motion asking for the reduction of a previously imposed sentence if the alleged offender’s substantial assistance involved any of the following types of information:

  • Information that was not known to the alleged offender until one year or more after sentencing
  • Information that the alleged offender provided to the government within one year of sentencing, but did not become useful to the government until more than one year after sentencing
  • Information in which the usefulness could not reasonably have been anticipated by the alleged offender until more than one year after sentencing and which was promptly provided to the government after its usefulness was reasonably apparent to the alleged offender

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Find a Federal Sentence Reduction Lawyer in Dallas

You will want to be sure to have a skilled Dallas criminal defense attorney representing your best interests when discussing possible substantial assistance to government prosecutors in any criminal case. Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy helps clients throughout Dallas County as well as surrounding communities in Denton County, Rockwall County, Collin County, Wise County, Johnson County, Tarrant County, and Ellis County.

Richard C. McConathy and Brian A. Bolton are both licensed to practice in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. They can review your case and discuss your legal options when you call (972) 233-5700 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


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Client Testimonials

  • 5 stars
    I would like to thank the Law Office of Richard C. McConathy for your awesome and courtious attention to professionalism. I am amazed at Richard and Brian''s ability to get a fast resolution and am grateful to them for the time put into this matter. I could feel the genuine concern and dedication that the attorney''s put on my case.
    - Andrea L.
  • 5 stars
    I hired The Law Office of Richard C. McConathy after I got arrested for DWI. In my life of work, I absolutely could not have a conviction on my record. At trial, I was found Not Guilty. Brian and Richard are the best lawyers in Dallas!
    - David C.
  • 5 stars
    I was able to keep my driver''s license and keep a clean a record as both the ALR and DWI case were both dismissed! I was pleased with their professionalism and ability to work with me to achieve the best possible outcome, dismissals all around.
    - James M.
  • 5 stars
    I was pulled over on the North Dallas Tollway for going 90 mph. The cop said that I was all over the road, and failed all the field tests and was obviously intoxicated. I pretty much lost all hope that I would walk away from this. That was until I found Richard McConathy. Richard and his firm fought the DA and eventually got my case dismissed. I couldn''t give a bigger recommendation for these guys. If you''re in trouble don''t hesitate, it is worth it.
    - Greg B.
  • 5 stars
    The law offices of Richard C. McConathy represented me with the utmost professionalism and they secured a victory for my probation revocation case. My case was nine years old and I was told by other firms that it would be very difficult to get the judge to revoke. This firm took my case on, and not only won the judgment, but also got the original probation case conditions dismissed. I highly recommend this law firm to any person in need if legal representation. They are very considerate and extremely knowledgeable.
    - Brant G.
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