Cooperating with the Government While Under Federal Indictment

May 11, 2023

Cooperating with the government when under federal indictment is a complex and often difficult decision that defendants must make in the federal criminal justice system. In general, cooperating with the government means providing information, testimony, or other assistance to the authorities in the investigation and prosecution of a criminal case. For defendants who are facing federal charges, cooperating with the government can have significant implications for their case and their future.

One of the primary reasons that defendants choose to cooperate with the government is to potentially receive a reduced sentence. In many federal criminal cases, defendants who provide substantial assistance to the government in the investigation or prosecution of other individuals may be eligible for a reduction in their sentence. This is known as “substantial assistance” or “5K1.1 motion” and is one of the most significant ways that defendants can reduce the severity of their sentence.

Another reason that defendants may choose to cooperate with the government is to avoid additional charges. In some cases, defendants may be facing multiple charges, and cooperating with the government can help them to avoid additional charges that may carry harsher penalties. Additionally, defendants may choose to cooperate with the government to avoid being charged as a co-conspirator or a leader of a criminal organization, which carries harsher penalties.

In addition to the potential benefits of cooperating with the government, there are also risks and drawbacks that defendants must consider. For example, cooperating with the government may involve providing incriminating information about oneself or others. This can put defendants in a difficult position and may lead to further legal problems. Additionally, cooperating with the government may involve testifying against others, which can put defendants at risk of retaliation.

Another drawback of cooperating with the government is that it can damage the defendant’s reputation and relationships. Defendants who cooperate with the government may be viewed as “snitches” and may have difficulty re-establishing themselves in the community after their release from prison. Additionally, defendants may have difficulty finding employment or housing, as they may be viewed as untrustworthy.

It’s important to note that defendants should not make the decision to cooperate with the government lightly, and should consult with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney before making a decision. An attorney can help defendants to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of cooperating with the government and can advise them on the best course of action for their specific case.

Contact a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer in Southern California


If you are charged in a federal criminal case, then contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers today. Call us to schedule a free confidential consultation with an experienced Orange County federal crimes attorney.

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