As anyone who has watched police procedurals or legal dramas is aware, many criminal cases are resolved through a plea agreement. In some cases, a plea agreement or even immunity from prosecution may be contingent upon a suspect providing information to the government in order to secure a conviction against someone else.
This is often the case in white collar crimes, where the line between “witness” and “suspect” is blurred, as many white collar crimes involve multiple people who may have had knowledge of a criminal act without being the primary person committing that act. In these kinds of cases, the government may be able to accuse people of offenses such as “conspiracy” or “aiding and abetting,” even when another person was actually the principal individual behind the crime.
Proffer Agreements and Immunity
In some white collar crime cases, it may be necessary for a witness (or suspect) to disclose information that could expose him or her to potential criminal liability in order to establish that he or she could help the prosecution. When this occurs, the government and the individual may enter into a “proffer agreement,” often referred to as a “queen for a day” agreement. Under the terms of a standard proffer agreement, the government statements made by the individual will not be used directly as evidence against him or her at trial.
There are some risks with entering into a proffer agreement. For one thing, the information that you provide could provide the government with additional leads that may turn up additional evidence against you, resulting in you being accused of a crime in spite of your agreement. In addition, should you provide contradictory testimony at a later date, the prosecution could use your prior statements against you and accuse you of obstruction of justice or perjury, both of which could result in significant criminal penalties. For this reason, you should always carefully consider all of your options before entering into a proffer agreement and making sure that you discuss your circumstances with an attorney.
Call 732-662-7658 today for a free consultation.
A criminal conviction can have a significant impact on the rest of your life, and the decision to enter into a proffer agreement has significant risks. For this reason, it is essential for anyone accused of a crime to retain legal counsel immediately. To schedule a free consultation with New Jersey criminal defense attorney Leon Matchin, call our office today at 732-662-7658 or contact us online.