Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Use Immunity or Transactional Immunity: Which One is Better?

Let's assume you have been accused of committing a white collar crime and that you are in big trouble with the government! Next, let's assume your attorney, "Mr. Sluggo," tells you that he can "get you a deal;" that is, Sluggo says that the federal prosecutor has offered you "immunity" if you will cooperate and testify before the federal grand jury against your co-defendants. You then ask Mr. Sluggo what kind of immunity it is, and he merely shrugs his shoulders and replies, "all immunity is the same." What should you do?

First of all, it is always imperative that you get an experienced federal criminal lawyer and do so quickly! You see, all immunity is NOT the same! In federal grand jury investigations, there are generally two types of immunity that the government will offer: use immunity and transactional immunity. In most cases, an experienced criminal defense attorney will try to obtain transactional immunity. And here are the critical reasons why:

Use immunity is a more limited type of immunity which will NOT give you full protection against prosecution. Statutory use immunity, whether granted formally or informally, (in accordance with 18 U.S.C. 6000-6003), simply provides that, if you agree to cooperate, then the government will only agree not to use what you say against you. In other words, they may still prosecute you if they have sufficient evidence independent of your testimony to nail you!

Transactional immunity, on the other hand, generally goes further and offers you complete protection, (and a "walk"), against prosecution for the crimes in question.

The bottom line is, you need an experienced federal criminal lawyer who knows how to deal with the government, and who, unlike Mr. Sluggo, at least knows the difference between use immunity and transactional immunity! Your freedom may depend upon it!

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