Working as a Drug Informant: Should You Cooperate With the Police?

If you are involved in a drug investigation, you could easily face the dilemma of whether or not to cooperate with the police. Doing so could help to mitigate the charges against you. However, it also poses a risk to you and your family members. If you choose to cooperate with police, it’s important to let them know right away. Otherwise, they could gain the needed information from other sources and no longer require your assistance.

What is Involved?

Before you make helpful statements, police will usually provide you with a debriefing, which is basically an interrogation of the facts. Before undergoing this debriefing, it’s important for you to invoke your right to counsel. That way, your attorney can obtain a proffer letter on your behalf. This document states that anything you say to police during a debriefing cannot be held against you in a court of law.

The debriefing begins with the police asking you certain questions to which the answers are already known. This is done to make sure that you possess the knowledge they are looking for. They also want to ensure that your answers are truthful. If you fail to answer questions correctly or are found to be dishonest, the offer of leniency can then be terminated.

After Cooperation

Drug informants typically receive a great deal of leniency in the courts during the sentencing process. The attorney for an informant may file a motion asking the judge to depart from normal drug sentencing guidelines or waive certain penalties. In addition, the district attorney sometimes refuses to prosecute a case at all. Your results will depend on a number of factors that can include:

  • Nature of your involvement
  • Prior arrests
  • How helpful was the provided information
  • When you decided to cooperate

Remaining Confidential

Texas law allows authorities to withhold the names of confidential informants in order to protect their identities. Even so, it is still possible for those involved to figure out who provided incriminating information to authorities by reading affidavits filed by police. A drug possession defense attorney could also file a motion requesting that the identity of a confidential informant be disclosed. This is normally done whenever the individual is a “transactional witness,” or one who conducted a transaction with another as part of a “sting” operation.

Although police make every effort to protect confidential informants, the fact is that this is not always possible in every situation. Working with the police to mitigate your drug charges has both risks and rewards that must be carefully considered before proceeding.

To learn more about working as a drug informant, talk to Matthew Sharp at 713-868-6100.