Considering Being an Informant

Drug distribution, trafficking and possession are crimes great in number all around the world. It is with much time, energy and effort that law enforcement creates task forces to crack down on criminals known and under suspicion.

However, it is wise to utilize all fronts if they become open and useful. In this regard, police and anti-drug agencies have for years been hiring, coercing or convincing individuals to become informants. These persons are best equipped to provide inside information from drug organizations, gangs, cartels and similar groups who commit criminal activities. Even though these are often singular entities, they may assist in ensuring the arrest of dozens of persons.

What Is an Informant?

Though there are informants that have been hired by law enforcement agencies to infiltrate drug organizations, many are criminals already inside these groups. When police have arrested a person, they may be able to turn them to their use through lesser charges or immunity of violations based on the factors of the case. This trade provides a means of penetrating security for the purposes of removing dangerous persons from the streets. However, the risks to the person informing are often high when dealing with others that often carry firearms and sell or transport drugs of all kinds.

An informant may be considered anyone who is used through law enforcement agencies to provide information about criminal activity. This could be the illegal acts themselves, the criminals and their actions, where and when crimes may take place or similar activity. Many of these individuals face grave and severe risks that usually include grievous injury, torture and death if they are caught. The greatest drive a person may have by becoming an informant is to ensure he or she does not face extensive time in prison or acquire a criminal record that may follow him or her around for the entirety of a lifetime. Informants are a natural part of law enforcement, but they are a rare commodity.

Factors to Consider Prior to Becoming an Informant

There are three main areas of concern a person should consider prior to informing on others to law enforcement. One consideration is the possibility that he or she may face various injuries to include the loss of life by informing on someone. The person facing these potential consequences is often seen interacting with drug involvement as well as criminals that carry firearms at all times and, in some instances, aiding in the purchase of drugs or other paraphernalia. Those usually contacted for this type of risk are usually higher up in the chain of command or supply. This is for law enforcement agencies to use as a means of arresting the source and his or her henchmen. This area of concern is called high stakes due to the involvement of wire transmitting devices, surveillance machines and lethal weapons of some type.

Because of the actions criminals and law enforcement take in these matters, there is no guarantee in anything. Being harmed in the process may not be avoided, killed in action while assisting police is a possibility and threats or crimes against the family and friends of the informant could come to pass as well. Nothing can be guaranteed to include safety. There may be little advantages to informing on criminals in some instances. It is vital the person understands what he or she is getting himself or herself into before agreeing to this action. This means a lawyer may need to be part of the process to protect the rights of the informant from beginning to end.

How Legal Representation May be of Assistance

Because there is no guarantee of safety in these actions, it is possible that the person’s identity may be uncovered to criminals. A criminal defense lawyer should be contacted to protect the identity of the informant. This may ensure the person’s identification is safe in the coming situations. Not all law enforcement follows through with lesser charges or sentences. A lawyer hired to protect his or her client may hold police officers accountable for their actions and deals made. A pre-established professional arrangement should be kept after the person has completed his or her assigned duty.

Legal representation may provide a means of coaching and protecting clients when they turn into informants. It is always important to protect what is said when dealing with police or law enforcement agencies. A lawyer may assist in ensuring the person knows what to say and what to refrain from speaking lest incrimination occurs.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.
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