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Should I Work as an Informant?

Posted by Andrew Segal | Mar 14, 2016 | 0 Comments

I represented a client who had just finished serving a seven-year prison sentence for trafficking cocaine. Three weeks after his release he was trafficking again.

This time he made the mistake of hitting his girlfriend. She called the police on him. When the police came to his apartment, she showed them a duffel bag full of cocaine. My client admitted that the bag and cocaine was his. He told the police his girlfriend had nothing to do it.

He had a consultation with me. I told him we did not have a lot to defend him with. The police and been invited into his house and his (ex) girlfriend had directed them to the cocaine and he had claimed it.

He had two options.

  1. Try to negotiate a plea. With this option, he would be in front of the same judge who sentenced him to seven years on to the first case. It was likely the judge would zap him with a significantly higher sentence.
  2. Work as an informant.

He chose to work as an informant.

Working as an Informant

As a general rule if somebody is trying to “work off” their case they must produce significantly more drugs than they were caught with. For this client that meant a major amount of drugs.

He came through. He gave the police enough evidence to arrest a MAJOR league drug trafficker. Mr. Major League was arrested and jailed.

The jailers screwed up. They confused Mr. Major League with other inmate and accidently released him. The first thing he did upon release was to attack my client.

He attacked my client in the middle of the street using a claw hammer. Fortunately for my client, he had two friends with him. They successfully fought off the attack.

Ultimately, the charges against my client were dismissed.

Things to Consider Before Working as an Informant

The moral of the story is if you're going to work as an informant be aware that it can be very dangerous. You must be willing to take the risks.

If you choose to work as an informant you are at the complete mercy of the drug officers. They call the shots. They (and they alone) determine whether they're satisfied with the work you've done.

The more successful the drug officers consider your informant's efforts the more generous they are in their efforts to have charges reduced or dismissed.

There are plenty of negatives to working as an informant. The old saying “snitches get found in ditches” speaks to the dangers of being an informant. Some informants never live long enough to make it to court.

If you're working as an informant, you are putting your faith in the hands of law enforcement and not all law enforcement officers can be trusted. Even the most trustworthy law enforcement officers cannot provide 100% protection to an informant.

Sometimes law enforcement agents will try to convince somebody to work as an informant over a minor case, where it's not really necessary, because it is likely the charges will be dismissed or disposed without the person's participation as an informant. For example, people who are arrested for a minor marijuana case have been asked to be an informant.

The decision of whether or not to work as an informant is an individual choice, but anyone considering working as an informant should talk with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.


The attorneys at The Law Offices of Segal & Segal, LLC are former prosecutors and are extremely knowledgeable about the tactics used by law enforcement and prosecutors. Based on the unique facts of your case, the attorneys can make a profession recommendation of whether acting as an informant would be beneficial in your case.

Andrew and Sandra Segal of the Law Offices of Segal & Segal, LLC diligently represent individuals facing any criminal charges, including drug offenses, domestic violence, theft charges, and firearm offenses.

Contact The Law Office of Segal & Segal, LLC for a free, confidential attorney consultation. The attorneys are available 24/7 at (256) 533-4529.

The Law Office of Segal & Segal, LLC serves clients throughout Alabama, including Madison County, Morgan County, Marshall County, Limestone County and Jackson County, as well as the cities of Decatur, Madison, Meridianville, Moores Mill, Hazel Green, New Hope and surrounding communities.

Watch The Law Office of Segal & Segal, LLC video on “Should I Work as an Informant”.

About the Author

Andrew Segal

Andrew Segal is a former judge and prosecutor who now represents the accused as a criminal defense attorney in Huntsville, Alabama, area courts. Andrew graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1982. and Washington College of Law at American University in 1988.


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