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Benefits Of Becoming A Confidential Informant

Interviewer:  What about this idea of being an informant when someone gets off with that, does that actually help their case?

Glen Malia: The answer is yes, it can help your case.  The problem that most people have with being an informant is that depending upon how serious the case is, frequently the case is not serious enough to warrant the client thinking of becoming an informant, a confidential informant for the police. We should back up as to what is usually involved with the confidential informant.  Usually what’s involved with the confidential informant is that,

  1. You give all the information you know to the police.For example, who you bought from all the deals and stuff like that.
  2. You go and make what they call controlled buys for the police where the police are observing you.

In fact, the controlled buy works this way: Effectively, you get searched by the police and you have nothing on you. Then they give you certain amount of money as marked bills, you go to the place where you bought it. You go to the dealer and you make the purchase, you give them the marked money and you come back and you give whatever you bought back to the police officer.

Informants are Often Forced to Make Controlled Buys to Pinpoint Drug Dealers

Sometimes, it’s more than one controlled buys. Sometimes it’s just one and sometimes it’s multiple controlled buys.  So, you’re interacting with the dealer doing these controlled buys, that’s generally the average person as a confidential informant, that’s what you’re doing. The big problem with being a confidential informant is the fact that you’re not making friends of the people that are bad. The drug dealer is not your friend and if he knows that you were making the controlled buys, in theory, in the right environment or in the wrong environment, however you want to label it, you may be putting your life in danger by being a confidential informant.

Becoming a Confidential Informant is Not Advisable for a Person Facing Minor Charges

So, when you have someone who’s basically had a clean record and it’s a minor possession or something like that, that person doesn’t really need to become a confidential informant to protect themselves but those are type of people the police like to get as confidential informant because if they have to ever come and testify a trial, it’s not like they have a 30-pages long rap sheet to use against them to try to show to the jury that this guy is probably lying and he’s making it all up but they don’t need to be a confidential informant.  Whereas the guy that needed to be the confidential informants because they need to help on their case, frequently the police don’t want that type of person to be the confidential informant because they just don’t rely on him enough.

Confidential Informants Can Potentially Have the Cases Against them Dismissed

Now, the benefit of being a confidential informant is frequently, the case can go away completely but generally speaking, at least here in Westchester County where I’m located, it doesn’t always happen that way. Usually, as a confidential informant or if you’re cooperating with the police, you’re still required to take some sort of plea and you’re required to take the plea before you would ever testify against the dealer and basically, they don’t make any huge promises, they don’t give the courthouse a way that the confidential informant were the people cooperating.  And the reason they don’t do that is they want that person to testify who’s been given a deal, they don’t want the jury to see that he’s not given such a great deal that he’ll be making all of his testimony up just to walk.

Generally Informants May End Up Pleading Guilty on Lesser Charges in New York

You generally don’t even get a complete walk, you still end up pleading guilty to something if you cooperate, so depending upon what the consequence you’re looking at, depending upon what you may get in terms of sentencing, it really may not be worth it to you.  I have had clients who cooperated and one case, in particular, I can remember where the client still had to plea to a felony conviction, she’d ended up getting a 5-years probation instead of going to jail but there’s a felony on her record and that was the best we could do when you cooperate and that was still the best we could do.


Malia Law, LLC located in Cortlandt Manor, NY represents Landlords/Tenants throughout Westchester County, Putnam County and Southern Dutchess County, NY.



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