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What is the difference between the safety valve and cooperating?

Topeka, KS |

Can someone be called to testify against co-defendants or can what is said in a safety valve debriefing be used against co-defendants. I understand the 5 requirements to become safety valve eligible but what happens with the information obtained in a safety valve debrief. If it's going to be used against co-defendants or if you are called to testify you might as well cooperate, right?

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Attorney answers 3


You should discuss this matter with an attorney. It is ill advised and potentially a personal safety risk to discuss cooperation or providing information to law enforcement in a public, personal or social media forum. This issue is one only your attorney can answer after thorough discussion of the facts and circumstances of you case.

Kate Zigtema, Maughan & Maughan LC, KC Area - (913) 647-7567 ; Wichita Area : (316) 264-2023 Legal disclaimer: This communication does not create an attorney client relationship or confidential privilege. Communications on this forum do not constitute legal advice and are meant to provide general information. Individuals are strongly advised to consult an attorney for specific legal advice that is tailored to their individual situations.


First and foremost, discuss the matter immediately with your attorney.
Second, unless and until proven otherwise assume anything you say to anyone
other than your lawyer could come back to haunt you. Under normal circumstances
if you make a statement to law enforcement the prosecution can put you on the stand
to say it again in the prosecution of someone else.
Third, don't do anything without talking to your lawyer.

Legal disclaimer: Legal disclaimer: Patrick M. Lewis, (913) 558-3961, This answer is intended to provide general information about the justice system. It does not provide legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. It does not provide the basis for making decisions about a course of action. Legal advice requires more communication and information than is possible in this format. Many important considerations and factors need to be investigated and discussed before an attorney could give legal advice about this issue. Before making any decisions about a course of action readers are strongly encouraged to contact a lawyer and secure an attorney-client relationship. Readers must also understand that this format does not provide for confidential communication.


I will answer your question. However, I strongly encourage you to immediately discuss these questions with your federal defense attorney. As my colleagues have already indicated, by asking these types of questions in a public forum, you are putting yourself at risk... physically and legally.
Briefly stated, the safety valve provision at 18 USC 3553(f) permits Courts to sentence a defendant below the mandatory minimum sentence that otherwise applies by statute. The Sentencing Guidelines incorporate a safety valve provision at USSG 5C1.2. Additionally, USSG 2D1.1 permits a 2-level decrease for drug offenders who meet the requirements of the statutory safety valve.
One of the requirements to become eligible for a safety valve is that no later than sentencing, the defendant must provide complete information regarding his or her role in the offense. Your question asks if this information is going to be used and you are to be called as a witness by the govt., why not cooperate? The person who is in the best position to make this call is your experienced federal defense attorney. No one in a public forum can have enough facts to make this determination better than your attorney.
RUN ... DO NOT WALK, to discuss this matter with your federal defense attorney. Do not discuss this matter with anyone else.