Federal Criminal Informant Lawyer
Helping Individuals Charged with Federal Crimes Decide whether They should Cooperate as a Criminal Informant
There is no disputing that being convicted of a federal criminal offense can result in harsh penalties. In some cases, however, federal investigators might make a deal with individuals who are facing a less serious charge, such as a minor drug charge. Specifically, they may offer an accused the option of acting as a criminal informant. In exchange, the informant may receive a promise of leniency or some other form of criminal probation, rather than a harsh criminal penalty that a federal judge would likely impose under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
Given the severity of penalties mandated by the Guidelines, including mandatory minimum prison sentences, many individuals accused of federal crimes decide to act as informants in order to avoid these penalties. Indeed, in many instances, there are benefits to acting as an informant in a federal criminal case. There are, however, several detriments to being an informant about which you must be aware. When you are making the decision about whether or not you should act as a criminal informant, you need to understand all these benefits and risks fully. That is where an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer can be extremely helpful.
Attorney Brian Joslyn of the Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm is experienced at negotiating with federal prosecutors and trying serious cases through the federal court system. Our legal team can explain all of the legal options you have available to you in your case, including the specific benefits and detriments to acting as a criminal informant in the federal justice system. You will then be much more able to make an informed decision that can benefit both you and the outcome of your criminal case. Call us today at (614) 444-1900, or contact us online, to discuss how we might be able to help you with your federal criminal matter today.
Becoming a Confidential Informant
In some instances, federal investigators may offer a suspect in a federal crime spree the opportunity to become a confidential informant (otherwise known as a CI) if the accused is facing a first-time offense – and if the accused has never been arrested for or convicted of a federal crime in the past.
Federal investigators are usually the ones who issue the invitation to the suspect. This invitation might come during initial questioning by the investigator or as part of a plea deal at a later stage in the process.
In order to fulfill your end of the bargain, you might be required to remain drug-free for a specific period of time or help out with a certain number of investigations or arrests. If you fail to do so, the agreement might be subject to revocation, and you could be charged and sentenced as originally planned.
What Criminal Informants Do
Criminal informants play an extremely important role in federal criminal cases. The primary job of a CI in a federal case is to assist police officers and federal investigators with gathering information and evidence against other criminal suspects. This information allows officers and investigators to make arrests and prosecute these individuals in federal court.
Generally speaking, individuals who wish to pursue an offer of leniency in their own criminal cases in exchange for working as an informant are not merely passive players in the process. Instead, they typically assume a very active role in the federal investigative process. A confidential informant may take on any of the following duties during a criminal investigation, among others:
- Wearing a wire or other listening device and feeding police officers and other investigators important information regarding criminal acts
- Assisting with a controlled drug buy and taking part in a specified number of controlled buys in exchange for leniency, such as a charge reduction, over a period of weeks or even months and years
- Making identifications of suspects of other crimes and providing other information to the prosecutor
Potential Benefits of Working as a Confidential Informant
All things considered, there are numerous benefits that are generally associated with working as a confidential informant in a federal criminal case. Just some of those benefits include the following:
- All pending federal criminal charges against the accused being lessened or dropped completely
- Having a clear criminal record
- Having the opportunity to pull the plug on major wide-spread criminal operations, including criminal drug operations
- Being able to escape harsh penalties imposed by a federal judge in accordance with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines — especially for criminal offenses that carry traditionally high penalties.
An experienced federal criminal informant lawyer can explain these potential benefits to you in more detail and assist you with making your decision about whether or not to work as a criminal informant in your particular case.
Possible Detriments of Working as a Criminal Informant
Despite the many benefits associated with working as a CI, there are also several possible detriments. For example, you likely face the danger of retaliation by a dangerous individual or group if you help police officers with an investigation or testify against a notorious criminal. In addition, there is no way that federal investigators and police officers can physically protect you from retaliation by others, although your identity will be protected while you are serving in your role as a criminal informant.
A knowledgeable federal criminal informant lawyer can help you decide whether the risks of serving as a confidential informant are outweighed by all of the possible benefits.
Call a Federal Criminal Informant Lawyer Today about the Possibility of Working as an Informant in Your Case
Criminal informant agreements between federal investigators and individuals accused of committing a federal crime can be extremely complex deals. Therefore, prior to entering into one of these agreements, you should first speak with an experienced Ohio federal criminal defense lawyer. The Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm can explain all of the risks and benefits to you and help you make a decision which is best for you and your case.