When to Accept Immunity in Exchange for Testimony
You may already be aware of the “right to remain silent” that is afforded to you by the 5th Amendment. The right to remain silent allows you to refuse to testify in an effort to not implicate yourself in a crime. While many do choose to plead the 5th when they witness a crime, there is also a possibility you can get awarded immunity by the court, in exchange for your testimony.
Oftentimes, the prosecutor may offer a plea bargain in exchange for testimony. However, the most protection that you can get in exchange for testimony is called transactional immunity or “blanket immunity.” When people are offered blanket immunity, they are completely immune from being prosecuted from the particular instance of the crime in question.
There are limitations as to what can be done with transactional immunity. It’s not always available, and it doesn’t protect the witness from being prosecuted for unrelated crimes. If during the course of investigations, the police find reason to suspect of you some other involvement in the crime, it’s possible you will still face criminal charges relating to that activity.
If you are facing any criminal charges, or are a witness to a crime, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can attempt to negotiate immunity on your behalf and can advise you about whether the deal you are being offered is in your best interests.Contact the Law Office of John W. Tumelty for assistance.