Advantages and Disadvantages to Cooperating

October 21, 2014

As you near your criminal trial, you may fear the sentence that you may receive if you are convicted. Your criminal defense attorney in New Jersey may discuss potential defenses, as well as alternatives to trial, such as cooperating with the prosecution. Cooperation encompasses certain advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Cooperation

A better deal may come your way if you decide to cooperate with the prosecution and supply evidence against co-defendants. In federal drug cases, cooperation is often one of the only ways that you can avoid the imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence, which tends to be longer than a similar state crime. Additionally, in some situations,if you were to cooperate and your role in the alleged offense was relatively minor,  the prosecution may decide not to charge you at all.

Disadvantages of Cooperation

While the advantages may seem encouraging, a criminal defense attorney in New Jersey can discuss the potential disadvantages. For example, your safety may be put in jeopardy if it is known that you plan to provide damaging information about other individuals. You must ensure that the government takes necessary steps to protect you. Another disadvantage to cooperating is that it can change the dynamic between you and someone whom you betrayed.

In terms of your sentence, you may wind up pleading to more serious charges and subjecting yourself to stricter sentencing guidelines by cooperating. This is because the prosecution may wish to threaten you with such a sentence if you wind up backing out of your cooperation. In some situations, the judge has discretion on how to sentence you and may not be bound by an agreement of this nature, so you may not get the sentence that you were promised.

Prosecution Benefits from Cooperation

A prosecutor receives many potential benefits from getting defendants to cooperate. The cooperating party may provide information related to the scope of the conspiracy or drug amount to bring about higher sentencing guidelines for individuals that are convicted.

If you would like more information about the idea of potentially cooperating, contact a criminal defense lawyer in New Jersey such as Tim Anderson by calling him at (732) 212-2812 and requesting a confidential consultation.


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