Posted on 5/13/19

In the last post, we explored a scenario in which someone acted as a police information and made a controlled purchase of drugs. The police later inspected the contents of the purchase and obtained a warrant to search the dealer’s house, where they found several pounds of drugs.

Often, a defendant facing a charge related to drug possession will be offered a plea deal wherein the defendant will get something in exchange for becoming an informant. Often, an information will be asked to be the buyer in a controlled purchase.

The question is whether the defendant should accept a plea deal and act as an informant. While each circumstance is different and will be dependent on many different factors, the following will provide a basic guide for accepting an informant deal in Texas.

Explaining the Plea Deal to the Jury

When accepting a plea deal in return for being a police informant, it is important to note that deals offered by the prosecution tend not to be huge. Usually, the prosecutor will require the informant to make a controlled deal with the person the prosecution wants to get. Once the deal is made, the informant will testify at the trial, according to the terms of the deal. The informant is often the star witness in the prosecution’s case.

However, as mentioned, the plea deal will likely not be a big boon for the informant. While the informant does risky things on behalf of law enforcement, there is another issue: explaining to the jury that this is real. If the prosecution offers the informant a big deal, e.g. be involved in a controlled sale of drugs and then testify against the drug dealer at trial in return for the prosecution requesting that the case be dismissed against the informant, the jury will have a difficult time believing the informant. Is the informant telling the truth? Or is he or she only testifying against the drug dealer to gain freedom after the trial?

If there are questions about the informant’s testimony and the informant is the star witness, the prosecution will have a difficult time proving the case. Texas law requires guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury has difficulty with the star witness’ integrity, the case could lose its luster with respect to proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Instead, a plea deal to be a police informant will likely be much less lucrative. To that end, it is important to consult with your lawyer before making a plea deal. When balancing the option of a plea deal versus the option of going to trial, consider whether the surety of a plea deal is the better option. It will likely not be a sweetheart deal.

Another factor to consider is life after being an informant. If you are not walking away free even with the plea deal and life after the trial may take a negative turn do to acting as an informant, determine whether the plea deal is for you.

Arrested and mulling a plea deal? Contact the Dallas criminal defense firm of Christopher Abel.

(image courtesy of Aaron Mello)

Flower Mound Office

Phone: 972.584.7837

Denton Office