As a criminal defense attorney, you'll typically find me sitting opposite of my local law enforcement in the court room but that doesn't mean I'm working against them. We both have an important and necessary job to do in our judicial system. What if you find yourself in a position to help the police do their job? What should you do? If you have witnessed a crime that is being investigated, you should always cooperate with the police. But what about when you or your son/daughter has been asked to help the police as a confidential informant? Should you cooperate in this situation as well?
Why Have I Been Asked to be an Informant?
Most times when an individual has been asked to participate as an informant, they were caught possessing illegal drugs. The police officer might tell them charges will not be pressed against them if they agree to provide them with names and phone numbers of the people who sold or gave them the drugs. In addition to names and numbers, the police might also ask the informants to take part in a drug sale to help them gather evidence against a drug dealer.
Problems with Being a Police Informant
The ultimate problem with you or your child being an informant is that the police officer involved gets to control all aspects of what will happen in this arrangement. Once a person agrees to become an informant, they could be put in dangerous situations with drug dealers, original plans and agreements can be changed without notice, and the police officers can decide at any point that the informant needs to do more than what was formerly agreed on. The worst scenario, of course, is the drug dealer finds out that it was you or your child that was the informant that set them up with the police. Now the informant is worried about what dangerous consequences may lie ahead as a result of the dealer knowing about their involvement.
Call an Attorney First
When you have been offered a deal by a police officer to become an informant, you need to call a criminal defense attorney first. Your attorney will be able to let you know what the full range of punishment is for the crime you've been charged with. Many times, the original charge such as marijuana possession can be resolved rather easily. Don't make a small problem into a dangerous situation by becoming an informant if you don't need to. If you or your child decides against being an informant, your attorney can call the police officer on your behalf and let them know you have been advised against working with them at this time. The charges against you will be filed and can be dealt with from there.
Every case is unique but ultimately this is a decision that should not be taken lightly and without all options closely examined by you and your attorney.
If you have questions about becoming a police informant in the St. Charles/St. Louis area, feel free to contact me at (636)487-4139 or [email protected]