On November 1, 2023, significant amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines went into effect after Congress took no action to veto the proposed amendments, which were adopted by the U.S. Sentencing Commission earlier this spring. This marks the first time in five years that the Guidelines have been amended, in part due to the Commission having a lack of quorum from 2019 through 2022.
The newly effective amendments enact, among other things, a new Chapter Four guideline, which provides for a decrease of two offense levels for “zero-point offenders” (that is, defendants with no prior criminal history) and whose instant offense did not involve certain enumerated criteria. In practical terms, this could mean months less of prison time, and tens of thousands of dollars less in fines, for zero-point offenders. The amendment also could have a particularly meaningful impact on white collar criminal defendants who, in many cases, have no prior criminal history.Continue Reading 2023 Amendments to Federal Sentencing Guidelines Now in Effect