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The answer, depends on the circumstances of your individual case: What was your involvement? What is the government offering you in exchange for your cooperation? Whether or not to work with federal authorities is something you should discuss in detail with your attorney. If you have an offer that says there will be no criminal charges for a certain level of cooperation, that would be an ideal scenario. That is what I aim for every time I have a client who comes in and says they haven’t yet been charged but are being investigated.

Sometimes, that deal will not be possible. If a person’s involvement was too great, the authorities won’t be willing to make a good offer. At that point, the attorney will have an in-depth conversation with the client about the best- and worst-case scenarios. What would the charges look like on the worst day possible? What about on the best day? Here’s how that compares to what is being offered now. Considering different realistic outcomes is a complex process that involves detailed discussions and analysis with your attorney.

Another option your attorney might consider would be the strengths and weaknesses of your case if you were to go to trial. Just because you’re charged criminally doesn’t mean you have to roll over and accept the charges; you can always fight your charge and take your case to a jury. Your attorney will consider how much evidence they have against you and how much of that evidence is circumstantial (such as other people saying you were in the room) versus stronger evidence (such as video and audio recordings of you agreeing to do something, DNA evidence, or fingerprint evidence). Those are all considerations we have to take into account.

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