If you are under investigation by the United States Attorneys Office there may be some options for you to avoid prosecution. Although many prosecutors take a hard line approach, there is some hope for a guarantee of no prosecution in exchange for cooperation.

Assistant United States Attorneys often seek cooperation in investigating or prosecuting others from those parties they believe to also be culpable of a crime. Often times, they will directly ask the alleged party to cooperate. If they do not, and the alleged party believes they have information that would be useful to the government, they may approach the Assistant United States Attorney with an offer of substantial assistanceto avoid prosecution or the full extent of prosecution.

Some prosecutors will try to bluff and say that they do not have any discretion to promise refraining from prosecution in exchange for cooperation. This is simply not true. Prosecutors have wide discretion to act in cases where the alleged is cooperating. For example, prosecutors can refrain from prosecuting in return for cooperation (See, Department of Justice Manual, §§9-27.600 et seq.) or they can enter into a plea agreement with the alleged, whereby the cooperating party pleads guilty to reduced charges or receives a reduced sentence in return for assisting the government in the investigation or prosecution of other persons for criminal activity (See Department of Justice Manual, §9-27.400 (2007).

Some attorneys won’t represent an individual cooperating with authorities. I believe it is the defendant’s choice, not the attorney’s. Federal charges often carry prison time if the party accused is convicted. If you know that you are caught red handed and wish to plea guilty, but have no stomach for jail, then cooperation may be your best and only option.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in Federal Criminal Defense matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or ferrari@ferrari-legal.com.

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