What is a “Proffer Session” with Federal Prosecutors?

January 1, 2019

A proffer session is a meeting with federal prosecutors and agents to discuss the circumstances and facts of your case. Ordinarily, prosecutors and agents obtain information that can be useful in the investigation or prosecution of another person. A proffer session is mandatory for those who wish to either: (1) obtain a recommendation from the prosecutor for a lower sentence; or (2) allow an offender to receive a sentence below the mandatory minimum, commonly called a “safety valve proffer.”

The prosecutor usually provides a written proffer letter to your attorney that outlines your rights and agreements with the government. Moreover, a proffer letter can be described as a contract between you and the government where nothing you say can be used against you in the event you wish to continue litigating your case. Certain exceptions apply, such as if you lie during the meeting or you omit to provide a material fact. The main thing the government desires from a defendant is to tell the whole truth to assist them in the prosecution of others.

A proffer session can nearly be held at any stage of the case, except after you have been sentenced. In other words, a proffer session may be held prior to your indictment, during the pretrial stages of the case, or even after guilt has been pronounced. Most defendants cooperate in exchange for the government to recommend a lenient sentence to the judge. Oftentimes, the government motion is filed under seal prohibiting the public from knowing the description and contents of the motion.

A proffer session is common among drug distribution cases given the substantial prison exposure someone faces. For instance, if you were arrested for possessing 400 grams of heroin, by statute, you must be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years. A judge can only sentence you below 10 years if you cooperate with the government after holding a proffer session. Accordingly, proffer sessions are frequent in nearly all cases in light of the lengthy prison term someone faces in federal court.

It’s important to retain an attorney experienced in handling cases against the United States government. Federal authorities are much different than local police and retaining an inexperienced lawyer, it could be disastrous to your case and even life. Contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers to schedule a consultation with an experienced Newport Beach federal crimes attorney[1]. We provide free confidential consultations concerning your rights and defenses.


[1] Our Newport Beach criminal lawyers handle federal cases all throughout southern California including Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Van Nuys, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Pasadena, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Seal Beach, Laguna Beach, Anaheim, San Clemente, Irvine, Tustin, Costa Mesa, Mission Viejo, Dana Point, and Garden Grove.

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