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The Complete Guide to Proffer Meetings in White-Collar Crime Investigations

When you stand accused of a federal crime, you may be given the opportunity to attend a proffer meeting. This is essentially a Q&A where the federal prosecutor questions the defendant. The defendant isn’t legally required to attend a proffer meeting, but after consulting with their criminal defense attorney, they may choose to participate. 

What is a proffer letter?

Also known as a proffer agreement, this is a deal with the government where the defendant agrees to share all of the information they have regarding a crime with the guarantee that their testimony won’t be used against them during the trial. A proffer session can be beneficial to the defendant if the prosecution offers them a plea deal in return for information. Some defendants will agree to a proffer session in the hopes that the U.S. attorney will decide to rescind the prosecution altogether, although this rarely happens.  

The problem with proffers

As you can see, proffers can be beneficial to someone accused of a federal crime under certain circumstances. Unfortunately, proffers also have some downsides as we’re sure you’ve guessed. First, when you agree to a proffer, it’s expected that you will be completely honest. This means that you’re locked into any testimony that you give. Although, this generally isn’t an issue unless you fudged the truth. If your testimony during the trial isn’t consistent with your former statements, the prosecutor can divulge any statements made during the proffer session.

While a proffer can’t be used against you, it can be detrimental to your case since the prosecutor can use the information to dig up leads and further information. The only thing that’s off-limits in court is your statements.

What happens at a proffer meeting?

Generally, the defendant will attend a proffer meeting with their criminal defense attorney. These sessions typically occur at a U.S. attorney’s office, but in certain circumstances, they can be held at a law office or a government building. Before the meeting commences, your attorney will make a statement about which topics you’ll discuss. From there, the federal prosecutor will begin the Q & A. If at any time the defendant feels uncomfortable or is unsure how to answer, they can meet privately with their attorney for a brief consultation. 

Overall, the prosecutor will use the proffers session as an opportunity to assess you and gain more information about the case. They will likely want to know more about your alleged involvement, your role in the case (witness, target, or perpetrator), and more before deciding what plea deal they can offer you. 

How do I prepare for a proffer? 

The best thing you can do is work with an experienced attorney that you trust implicitly. It will be their job to protect your rights and ensure everything goes according to plan. Develop a strategy with them before you go into the proffer meeting and then stick to it. This can be a stressful process so you should also lean on family and friends. This helps as you prepare to navigate the proffer meeting and your upcoming trial. Try to do something you enjoy to relieve the tension you feel. Once you arrive at your proffer meeting, stay humble and don’t lie. This is the key to getting the best outcome possible and perhaps even getting your charges dropped. 

Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney

If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, reach out to criminal defense attorney John R. Teakell. He has years of experience as a high-powered defense attorney. Mr. Teakell even worked as a federal prosecutor for a time. So he knows the ins and outs of the courtroom and can anticipate the prosecutor’s moves. When you work with the law office of John R. Teakell, you’ll be in good hands. Call today to learn more. 

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