A proffer session is an agreed-upon exchange of information between the prosecution and the defense in a criminal investigation. These meetings take place in a secure location and give defendants the opportunity to be transparent about new information without fear of reprisal. Though this type of meeting may seem non-threatening, you should always have your lawyer present.
An attorney who understands proffer sessions in Omaha federal criminal investigations can advise you on what you should and should not disclose. Participating in one of these meetings without legal counsel by your side could be detrimental to your case. The attorneys at Berry Law will work to protect your rights throughout this process.
What is the Purpose of a Proffer Session?
The federal government uses proffer sessions to obtain new information in criminal cases. For example, in a drug conspiracy, the agents might want to question an alleged courier about who gave him or her a stash of drugs.
Even if the defendant does not know the person’s identity, the prosecutor might hope to find out information about where the hand-off took place or what type of car the individual drove.
If you are the defendant in a case, the intent behind agreeing to a proffer session is typically to negotiate immunity for a crime the federal agents investing you.
Potential Parties Involved in a Proffer Session
There can be several people involved in a proffer session for a federal investigation. There will always be a representative of the United States Attorney’s Office present. However, this individual may not be the actual prosecutor on your case. He or she might be the US Attorney for that district, the Assistant US Attorney, or a federal agent.
The proffer is the person offering information. This could be you—the defendant—or a witness. If you are the one disclosing information, you should ensure your attorney is present.
Who Initiates a Proffer Session in a Federal Criminal Investigation?
Typically, the US Attorney’s Office initiates the proffer session. However, your defense attorney can informally suggest a proffer session by telling the prosecutors that you have information that they may want to know. The government would then respond by sending a written proffer agreement for you and your lawyer to consider.
Understanding Proffer Letters or Agreements
A proffer letter or agreement is a written document detailing the topics of conversation in the session, including limitations on what information the prosecution can use in a federal criminal trial. The agreement will also list topics that are not up for discussion at all. Although the prosecutor typically drafts this agreement, your defense attorney can speak with him or her ahead of time to discuss what you will and will not agree to.
Waiving Certain Constitutional Rights
One of the most common terms in a proffer agreement is that the defendant will provide a “full, truthful, and transparent” set of information. Naturally, this means you waive your right to remain silent during the session.
Immunity Clauses in Proffer Agreements
In theory, there is no promise of leniency for the information you disclose to the prosecutors. However, defendants often reap some rewards after providing information that gives the prosecution new leads. So, when discussing the terms of the proffer agreement, your lawyer can push for immunity on your behalf.
There are two common types of immunity—transactional immunity and “Queen for a Day.” With transactional immunity, you have complete protection from future prosecution for anything you say within the confines of a particular transaction.
“Queen for a Day” gives you the freedom to divulge potentially incriminating evidence or statements for a single day. There will be no court reporter or photographer. The prosecutor may take notes, but nothing is sworn under oath.
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Talk to a Lawyer about Proffer Sessions in Omaha Federal Criminal Investigations
If you are considering agreeing to a proffer session in an Omaha federal criminal investigation, you should consult with a seasoned attorney at Berry Law. We can help you negotiate an agreement that protects your rights and provides an opportunity for immunity. Get in touch with us today to schedule a confidential consultation.