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What is a Proffer Agreement?

What is a Proffer Agreement? Everything You Need to Know

Introduction

If you’re facing a federal criminal investigation, you may have heard the term “proffer agreement” thrown around. But what exactly is a proffer agreement? How can it impact your case? And most importantly – should you enter into one?At Spodek Law Group, we understand how overwhelming and confusing it can be to navigate the federal criminal justice system. That’s why we’re here to break down everything you need to know about proffer agreements, so you can make an informed decision about your case.

What is a Proffer Agreement?

A proffer agreement, also known as a “queen for a day” agreement, is a written contract between a federal prosecutor and a defendant or witness. Essentially, it allows the individual to provide information to the government, with certain protections in place.Under a proffer agreement, the statements made by the defendant or witness generally can’t be used against them in court. It’s an opportunity to “proffer” or offer up what you know, without immediately incriminating yourself.However, it’s important to note that a proffer agreement is not a guarantee of immunity or leniency. It’s simply an agreement that your statements won’t be used as direct evidence against you. There are still ways the information could potentially be used to build a case.

Why Would Someone Enter a Proffer Agreement?

There are a few key reasons why someone might consider entering into a proffer agreement:

  1. To Provide Valuable Information: If you have information that could be useful to the government’s investigation, a proffer agreement gives you the opportunity to share what you know without immediately facing consequences.
  2. To Assess Their Exposure: A proffer can give you and your attorney a better sense of what evidence the government has against you, and what your potential exposure might be. It’s a way to gather more information before deciding on a defense strategy.
  3. To Seek Leniency: While a proffer agreement doesn’t guarantee leniency, cooperation is often looked upon favorably by prosecutors and judges. If the information you provide is valuable enough, it could potentially lead to a more favorable plea deal or sentencing recommendation down the line.

What Happens in a Proffer Session?

If you and your attorney decide to enter into a proffer agreement, you’ll be called in for a proffer session. This is essentially a meeting with the prosecutor and investigating agents, where you’ll be expected to answer questions and provide information related to the case.It’s important to go into a proffer session prepared. You’ll need to be honest and forthcoming, as any false statements or material omissions could void your agreement. However, you’ll also want to be cautious about oversharing. Answer the questions asked, but don’t volunteer extra information unnecessarily.Your attorney will be with you during the proffer session and can advise you on how to navigate the conversation. In some cases, your lawyer may even be able to negotiate the terms of the proffer agreement beforehand, to provide you with additional protections.

Risks of Proffer Agreements

While proffer agreements can be a useful tool in some cases, they’re not without risks. Here are a few potential downsides to keep in mind:

  1. Waiver of Rights: By entering into a proffer agreement, you may be waiving certain constitutional rights, such as your right to remain silent and your right against self-incrimination. It’s crucial to have an attorney review the agreement and advise you on the implications.
  2. Potential Impeachment: While your statements generally can’t be used as direct evidence against you, they could potentially be used to impeach your credibility if you take the stand at trial and your testimony is inconsistent with your proffer.
  3. Derivative Use: Even if your actual statements can’t be used, the government may still be able to use the information you provide to develop other leads and evidence against you or others. They just can’t reference your proffer directly.
  4. No Guarantee of Leniency: Again, it’s important to remember that a proffer agreement is not a guarantee of immunity or leniency. While cooperation can be beneficial, there’s no promise of a particular outcome.

Real-World Example

To illustrate these concepts, let’s take a look at a hypothetical scenario:John is under investigation for his role in a fraud scheme. He believes he has valuable information about the inner workings of the scheme and the involvement of his co-conspirators.John’s attorney negotiates a proffer agreement with the government, and John sits down for a proffer session. In the session, John details his knowledge of the scheme, including names, dates, and specific transactions.As a result of John’s proffer, the government is able to build a stronger case against the other participants in the scheme. When it comes time for John to be sentenced, the prosecutor informs the judge of John’s cooperation, and recommends a more lenient sentence as a result.However, if John were to go to trial and take the stand in his own defense, any statements he made in his proffer that were inconsistent with his testimony could potentially be used to impeach his credibility.

Choosing the Right Attorney

If you’re considering entering into a proffer agreement, or if you’re facing federal criminal charges in general, it’s essential to have an experienced attorney on your side.At Spodek Law Group, our attorneys have decades of experience handling complex federal cases. We understand the intricacies of proffer agreements and can help you weigh the potential risks and benefits for your specific situation.Don’t navigate this process alone. Contact us today at 212-300-5196 for a consultation.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Conclusion

Proffer agreements can be a powerful tool in federal criminal cases, but they’re not a decision to be made lightly. It’s crucial to understand exactly what you’re agreeing to, and what the potential implications could be for your case.If you’re facing a federal investigation or charges, don’t wait to seek legal counsel. The earlier you involve an experienced attorney, the more options you may have available to you.At Spodek Law Group, we’re here to guide you through this process and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. With our experience and dedication, you can feel confident that you have a strong advocate in your corner.Remember, your initial consultation is always confidential, and we’re here to help you 24/7. Don’t face this alone. Call us today at 212-300-5196.

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