One common question people ask when they face criminal charges is if they will be eligible for immunity. In fact, immunity may be an option for many people who are facing serious charges. But how do you know when immunity is an option? Check out this guide to learn more.
Don't Incriminate Yourself
If you're a witness to a crime, you may use the Fifth Amendment to avoid incriminating yourself. In order to avoid incriminating yourself, avoid directly stating that you were part of a crime. For instance, you don't want to say, "I stole the car." You should also avoid giving information to the police that could lead to direct evidence of your involvement in a crime.
When Does Immunity Come Into Play?
Keep in mind that immunity can still come into play if the prosecution overrides the Fifth Amendment, allowing you to testify against your best interests with the promise of immunity. Immunity means you will not be charged with crimes you confess to when you trade your honest testimony.
Understanding Transactional Immunity
Your lawyer may talk to you about two types of immunity that can protect you. Transactional immunity, the most common form, provides protection for crimes related to those you have been granted immunity toward, but it does not cover any other criminal activity.
For instance, you may be granted immunity related to an incident in which you were the passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a robbery, but it may not cover a drug-related incident you did not disclose and they discover later. Each case is different.
Understanding Derivative Use Immunity
This form of immunity is beneficial for those who make statements to the investigators when the promise of immunity. This form of immunity prevents your statements as a witness from being used against you during a criminal trial.
Keep in mind that this immunity does not stick forever, and it can change if you were not completely honest. If additional evidence is found to prove that you committed another crime or a more serious offense, you may still be prosecuted.
Talk to Your Criminal Defense Attorney
Again, it's crucial that you speak with your criminal defense attorney to discuss whether pursuing immunity is the best idea. Your attorney will clear up some of your questions and advise you as to whether working with investigators is really in your best interest. Reach out to criminal lawyer like those at The Rambarran Law Firm today.