When it comes to federal cases, proffer sessions are something that are used in order to communicate with the government and give the government your position related to the charges or allegations that are pending against you. Typically, what happens in a proffer session is you and your attorney go and meet with the prosecutor and agents related to your case. There’re different forms of proffer sessions. Some are related to basically giving your side of things so the prosecutors can evaluate things as they decide whether to file a criminal case against you and what type of charges they are going to charge in a potential federal case.
Other proffer sessions in federal cases involve you cooperating with the government and attempting to get what’s called a 5k department where they can shave time off of any potential future sentence you may get in your federal case. In either event, the federal proffer session is really the agents and prosecutors asking you questions about your involvement in whatever the particular crime is that they are investigating or have charged you with. A lot of times, depending on what is worked out between you, your attorney and the government, there is what’s called a Queen for a Day Letter where any statement that you make cannot be used against you in a federal proffer session.
Basically, this means that you can feel free to give information without worry that you will later be prosecuted for the information that you’ve given. However, it does not erase any standing prosecution against you. In other words, if they’re already going to prosecute you for certain crimes, they just can’t use the information you are giving you to do that, but you certainly could be prosecuted for the crimes regardless of whether you give information at the proffer session.
Another use of the proffer session is for you to cooperate with the government. In that situation, they’re going to ask you questions about your involvement with other people in the case that they’re investigating. They are going to attempt to get information so that they can prosecute other people. A lot of times they will keep this information secret depending on the circumstances of the case and they will not reveal the fact that you gave information against other individuals related to your case so that you do not have to fear reprisal against these individuals.
However, this is something that really needs to be discussed with your attorney because there are some circumstances where you can give information. Someone could be prosecuted and they would obviously know that you were the one that possessed the information because you’re the only one that had the information. Also, there are situations where in the future those persons – while they’re being prosecuted – their attorneys can ask for who gave that information and then the government may have to turn that over to them depending on the circumstances relating to the proffer session related to your federal case and whether or not you are potentially going to be a witness and testify in the case. So, these are all issues that you need to take up with your attorney prior to the federal proffer session so that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into and you’re in the best possible position related to a federal proffer.
So really, the main gist of the federal proffer session is you get an opportunity to speak. You get an opportunity to tell the prosecutors your version of events and also the prosecutors get an opportunity to gather information either against you or other people that might be involved in your federal criminal case. Your best friend in these federal proffer sessions — before, during and after — is your federal criminal defense attorney. They are the ones that will assist you and guide you through and answer all your questions prior to the proffer session, and obviously help you make the right decision as it relates to your federal criminal case.
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