Criminal Defense

Can Being a Confidential Informant Reduce Your Charges?

December 08, 2022 by Mikel Rastegar in Criminal Defense  Federal Crime  
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It’s Up to You

A person who provides government officials with information in exchange for rewards is a confidential informant. On the other hand, this setup isn’t always optimal. Your case may benefit; however, working with law enforcement may not provide the desired results and may even jeopardize your life. Always think twice before becoming an informant, especially if you have been involved in a drug deal. Know the risks and the specifics of any deal you’re considering signing before making a final decision. Fit from the confidentiality of the information.

The Benefits of Being a Confidential Informant

Being a confidential informant may be a one-time event, or you may be required to work for the police in your town and neighborhood for months or years. If authorities suspect a crime is about to be committed, they may want to know when, when, and who is involved.

The chances of being granted a plea agreement as an informant are slim if it is your first arrest or you have a clean criminal record. It’s still conceivable because jurors see a person with a clean record as more reliable than someone with a lengthy criminal record. It’s not enough to know just a little about everything; you also need to know much about what investigators want.

After being convicted for drug dealing or supply, being in criminal gangs, or fraud, a convict may choose to work as an informant. The possible advantages make this choice enticing. The authorities will want to use you to investigate your source or boss to uncover any further drug dealings that may be taking place. You should read the small print of the agreement thoroughly.

As a reward for giving information to the police or carrying out certain tasks at their request, the prosecution may:

  • Allow part or all of the accusations brought against you to be dropped.
  • Allow some or all of the charges to be reduced to a lesser infraction.
  • Grant you immunity.
  • Have minimum sentence allowed for pleading guilty.

It is unlikely all the accusations against you will be dropped. Instead, your charges will probably be lessened, which will result in a more favorable sentence for you. Your counsel may negotiate a reduced term or alternative penalty on your behalf if you plead guilty or enter a plea of not guilty to the charges in the settlement.

Stay off the case’s subject matter when talking to detectives. Instead, share your experiences and insights gained through interacting with other offenders. Police would benefit much from knowing who is doing what and where. It will strengthen your hand while bargaining for a lesser sentence.

Disadvantages Associated with Being a Confidential Informant (CI)

  • Police can’t assist you: The prosecutor, not the police, decides whether you’re charged with a crime or have your probation terminated. If the cop says he’ll “put in a good word” for you, don’t trust him. It is unlikely he would. A lawyer working closely with the prosecutor is preferable. They will insert pleasant remarks.
  • The police own confidential informants: When you become a confidential informant, you give up a lot of freedoms and your identity. An officer may now search and interview you at will if he has any suspicions that you have done anything illegal. You’ll be issued a mobile device and assigned a direct line to the on-duty officer, whom you should call back and answer as soon as possible. CI numbers are used to conceal your identity, but to the law, you are just another prisoner in their tally.
  • CI tasks are difficult to do: Officers instruct CIs to execute tough jobs like getting narcotics from risky, untrustworthy folks. Your work immediately led to the arrest and prosecution of the person they seek, or it did not. If not, you have failed as a CI. You would not gain a benefit even if you did not cause the absence of charges.
  • Probation violation: Drug instances are severe. These implications sometimes lead to probationers facing large jail terms. Police utilize the threat of a “backup” punishment to recruit informants. They convince you that working with them helps you prevent a probation breach. As a CI, you are violating your probation if you participate.
  • Drug deals with dealers are risky: You may be requested to enter armed homes or vehicles as a confidential informant. If you survive the bust, the people you bust will learn your identity via court discovery, and their relatives may seek retaliation.
  • Moving: Out there you may become a target. Ensuring your safety could mean moving far away, just like Henry Hill in the movie “Goodfellas“.

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How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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