Why You Should Cooperate with the Police when You Are Charged with a Crime

Posted over 5 years ago. Applies to New Jersey, 1 helpful vote



Why should I cooperate?

Cooperation with the police has many names, some less glamorous then others. Some of the official names include, Cooperating Informant, Reliable Source, and Anonymous Source. Some of the more offensive names include, Snitch, Rat, and Cheese-Eater. The truth is, that under most circumstances, your cooperation will never be known to anyone other then the defense lawyer, the prosecutor and the police you are cooperating with. The key to these types of agreements is confidentiality. This protects you, and provides the police with valuable assistance and information for them to conduct their investigation. Before deciding whether to do this, you need to understand what the charges are that you are facing, and what the likely sentence will be without cooperation. Then your lawyer can negotiate what the value of the cooperation will be with the prosecutor, who is able to bind the agreement, and assure you that the cooperation will have the effect of lowering your sentence.


Getting the benefit.

As with many things in life, the work needs to be done before you get the benefit. Once your lawyer has negotiated the sentencing reduction, it is time for you do perform the cooperation. Usually, it is well understood what work you are to perform. This can be as simple as an introduction of an undercover cop to the target of the investigation, to something as complex as wearing a transmitter and recording conversations between the targets. Frequently it includes the purchasing of illegal items or substances, which is called a confidential informant buy. Understand, before doing this, that your privacy is not the issue. Expect that you may be strip-searched if you are making a buy. For example, if the item you are buying were a quantity of drugs, the police would need to be able to state that they checked you to make sure you had no drugs secreted on you before the buy. If you have the information and want to use it to get a better deal, you need to do the work before you get the deal.

Additional Resources

NJ Criminal Defense

Rate this guide

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

25,165 answers this week

3,299 attorneys answering