When you are facing serious drug-related charges but serve a relatively small role in the drug trade, you may be offered a chance to serve police as a confidential informant in exchange for reduced or dropped charges. This often is a tempting offer for those facing jail time and a permanent record, but you should make sure you know what you are really expected to do before considering saying yes.

5 Realities of Being a Confidential Informant

Being a confidential informant, or “CI” as they are often called, requires a lot from you. The following five realities of being a confidential informant will give you a better idea of what is expected of you as a confidential informant.

  1. Law enforcement is looking for probable cause, not just identification. Just knowing who the important players in a drug ring are isn’t very useful to law enforcement. Most of the time, police have a pretty good idea of who is committing these crimes already; they just don’t have proof. Instead, law enforcement is looking for substantial information or proof that gives them probable cause for an arrest.

  2. You usually have to take an active role in the arrest. CI’s don’t just feed police information from the safety of the station. They take an active role in taking down other suspects through controlled buys or wearing a wire. If you decide to take on the role of a CI, you’ll be actively working the case in the field.

  3. You probably aren’t done after just one arrest. Almost all confidential informants participate in more than just one arrest. Usually, you are required to participate in multiple busts, which can take months or even years. If you are a CI, you are in it for the long haul.

  4. You are taking a risk for law enforcement — and they can’t always guarantee your safety. Although there are usually many safeguards put in place to keep your identity out of public knowledge and to protect you physically while you are making a controlled buy, there is always the risk that you may be exposed. You should be aware that there is always the expectation that CI’s could be put in dangerous situations and that you must be prepared to take such risks. Ensuring that your agreement with law enforcement is vetted by a Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer can help mitigate these risks.

  5. You must live up to your end of the agreement 100 percent or it could be invalidated. The agreement you make with law enforcement doesn’t just say what you will do, but also how. That means that you must exactly fulfill the number of arrests, the behavior clauses, and any other requirements or the deal can be revoked—even after you have already partially completed you end of the deal.

As you can see, it’s not always immediately obvious whether or not a CI deal with police is within your best interests. Nonetheless, often it is a good deal, so you should seriously consider taking it.

How a Philadelphia Drug Defense Attorney Can Help You

A good way to make an informed decision of whether or not to be a CI is to talk over the proposed agreement with an experienced Pennsylvania drug defense attorney. They can help you understand the specifics being proposed in your case and help you decide if it is in your best interest. You have a right to an attorney during your conversations with law enforcement, so take advantage of it. If you have been arrested on drug charges or for any other crime that has triggered Philadelphia law enforcement to offer a deal, call the local criminal defense lawyers at Fienman Defense right away at (215) 839-9529. We can give you an honest assessment of what will be expected and help protect your rights no matter what you ultimately decide to do.

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