Thursday

Police Turn to Deception to Encourage You to Become an Informant

Imagine you are facing charges of possession of marijuana in Pennsylvania and the police tell you when they weighed the marijuana the total amount was 31 grams. They then explain that because you had more than 30 grams, you are possibly facing a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Now imagine the same police officer telling you that if you arrange a marijuana purchase from the person who sold you the product to begin with, they can reduce or eliminate the charges against you. Chances are, even if you doubted you had that amount of marijuana in your possession, you are tempted to accept their offer.

Police Deception and Informants

What the police officer is asking you to do is commit another illegal act, but with legal cover of an informant. However, there are a few things you should know about taking on the role of an informant in any case, and why it is even more risky if you are facing a criminal charge.

  • No guarantee if not in writing — if the officer is not willing to put his offer in writing, you could still be facing a criminal charge of possession. In addition, you could face an additional charge if you are involved in another purchase of marijuana.
  • Police use deceptive tactics – you may not realize it, but if the amount of marijuana in your possession was less than 30 grams, a good defense attorney could mean no jail time, no fine, and no charges.
  • Personal danger is possible — you could also be putting yourself in the path of additional harm if the people you are purchasing drugs from as an informant. In some cases, the danger could far outweigh a minor possession charge.

It is important for you to consider all options and exercise your right to have an attorney present before you answer any questions, make any deals, or make any declaration about your arrest.

Police Officer Deception is Legal

One thing to keep in mind, it is legal for a police officer to use deception to obtain a confession, or to "turn" you into an informant. It is likely the officer will not tell a big lie, more than likely it will be something minor that could possibly be shown to have been simply a misjudgment such as telling you there was slightly more drugs in your possession than were there. This is so the deception is not easily detectable by you while they are pressuring you for help.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are arrested and facing a possession charge, do not make the drastic decision to become an informant without speaking with an experienced attorney first. Keep in mind, a first-time offender may be able to have the charges dropped by completing a diversion program while on probation. In other cases, the arrest may have violated your rights. Do not allow an officer's deception to turn you into an informant without speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania

Image: From Wikimedia Commons: Lionel Allorge