Our country’s Constitution gives every United States Citizen various liberties and freedoms. One of which that has to do with criminal charges is our 5th amendment, which protects criminal suspects from self-incrimination. What does that mean for those facing criminal charges? Mostly, it means that you cannot be forced to reveal certain information that will a) directly incriminate you, or b) indirectly incriminate you by giving investigators information of incriminating evidence. In some cases, prosecutors can work their way around this amendment by offering immunity.
Continue reading to learn more about immunity in a criminal case, including the types of immunity, their potential restrictions, and who to trust for superior criminal defense advice near you.
In the case that a prosecutor suspects a person of criminal activity, but cannot get any usable information out of them as a result of their constitutional rights, they may instead offer them immunity in exchange for their testimony against another suspect or criminal group. This type of prosecution bargain is most common in cases that can lead investigators to stopping much larger, organized criminal operations, such as drug and sex trafficking, black market businesses, white collar crimes, and more.
Types of Immunity
There are two common types of immunity offered by prosecution in criminal cases: Total Immunity and Use and Derivative Use Immunity. Total immunity, also known as transactional immunity, refers to an arrangement that gives a suspect complete protection against being charged at any point in the future based on matters related to their testimony. Keep in mind that, under this arrangement, prosecution can still bring charges against an immunized suspect, so long as the charges are based on entirely independent matters unrelated to their testimony.
Use and derivative use immunity is a similar arrangement to total immunity, but with more restriction, which is why it is the more common type offered in criminal cases. A person who is granted this type of immunity will be protected against being charged by prosecution based on statements, or any evidence uncovered from their statements, given in their immunized testimony. Essentially, this situation renders the same result as a person invoking their 5th amendment right.
Deciding on Immunity
Because there is more than one type of immunity, it is vital to your future and your freedom to fully understand the deal being offered to you before agreeing to it and signing any documents. In fact, it is strongly encouraged to have your Indiana criminal defense lawyer review such offers and help you make the best decisions for your case. Furthermore, there are several limitations to immunity, which can also confuse or mislead you. For instance, once you agree to an immunity, you must comply and go through with the deal. If you do not, you will face various penalties, including hefty fines and jail time.
Get Trusted Criminal Defense Advice in Indiana
Call David E. Lewis, Attorney at Law, at 317-636-7514 if you have been charged with a crime in Indianapolis or anywhere else within Central Indiana. He offers aggressive and experienced criminal defense for anyone facing criminal charges in Indiana. Don’t settle for an attorney that doesn’t have the drive. Attorney David E. Lewis will stop at nothing to protect your rights and preserve your freedoms. We also offer criminal record expungement services to help clean up your criminal history and improve your quality of life!