what is a proffer agreement in federal criminal cases?Proffer Agreement Definition? What’s a Proffer Agreement in Federal Criminal Cases? A proffer agreement in a government contract fraud case is a voluntary, informal offer made by the prosecutor and the defendant, and where both agree that you agree to plead guilty to certain criminal charges in exchange for certain benefits from the prosecuting attorney. 

What is a proffer in a criminal case? The proffer legal definition, also referred to as queen for a day legal law in a federal criminal case is a written contract between the federal prosecutor and you, the defendant who is under criminal investigation.

 Proffer Definition in a Government Contractor Fraud Criminal Case?

Legal proffer definition in court: In a government contractor fraud criminal case, attorney proffer statements are offers made by the prosecutor and defendant to plead guilty to certain criminal charges in exchange for certain benefits from the prosecuting attorney.

What is a proffer letter? A proffer letter is a written contract from federal law enforcement that states the terms of the agreement between a criminal defendant and the prosecutor. The terms of the proffer letter typically include an admission of guilt, facts regarding your involvement in the crime (if applicable), and stipulations on sentencing or other legal consequences.  Signing a proffer can be beneficial or dangerous. Getting legal advice from your defense attorney is crucial.

Proffer Legal Definition vs Immunity in Court: What is the difference between the proffer agreement definition vs immunity? In some cases, the agreement may include immunity or leniency if the defendant pleads guilty.   The defendant typically agrees to provide certain information to the prosecutor in exchange for potential benefits.

The information provided can be used as proffer evidence against the criminal defendant if they later decide to plead not guilty or go to trial. The prosecutor may also use the defendant’s proffer statements as evidence against other defendants in a criminal case. Criminal defendants often give the prosecutor helpful information in exchange for favorable treatment.

Proffer Deal? Purpose of Proffer Evidence

What is a proffer agreement? How does a proffer deal help? – if you are charged at the federal level, it may help you in your upcoming criminal case. A proffer attorney session at the federal level first occurs between a criminal defendant or suspect and the federal government and takes place at the local U.S. Attorney’s Office. At the proffer, a defendant government contractor or employee is represented by defense counsel, and the government is represented by the federal prosecutor along with the investigating agents.

Define Proffer Legal Requirement: The proffer letter is an opportunity for the defendant to share with the government all verbal, written, or electronic information, such as emails, statements, documents, videos, or records that may be of use to the government. Notably, proffer evidence in federal criminal cases and meeting opportunities are not done in cases with violent crimes or to individuals with a history of violent federal crime. See information about target letters and indictment.

Government contractor fraud civil or criminal: When the federal government is conducting a criminal investigation that includes government contract fraud, it may approach you or another co-defendant with a proffer agreement. This type of agreement, sometimes referred to as a ‘Queen for a Day’ or ‘proffer immunity’ agreement, can provide certain benefits and protections for those involved in the fraud investigation. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and mistakes that can occur if one attempts to lie in a proffer deal.

First, it is important to understand what a proffer entails. A profer agreement is an agreement between the government and an individual under criminal investigation that outlines the terms of providing information to the government in exchange for certain protections from prosecution or other penalties. The agreement also states that any false statements or omissions may result in criminal charges being brought against the individual.

Queen for a day legal meaning – Given the potential consequences of providing false statements in a proffer agreement, it is essential to understand the terms of any such queen for a day legal law agreement thoroughly. To minimize any potential risks, it may be beneficial to hire an experienced government contractor fraud attorney who can help ensure that the agreement is followed accurately and provide legal advice regarding its implications. Additionally, individuals should take some time to weigh the pros and cons of entering into a proffer deal in the first place.

What Happens When  Government Contractors Offer Evidence in Proffer Agreement?

The first thing to do before entering into a proffer agreement is to have your criminal defense attorney inform you about the strength or weakness of your case. If you have a very weak case and you stand a high chance of indictment and or conviction as a government contractor or employee, then sometimes the best thing to consider is to make a deal with the protection. This could sometimes be your only way out. 

At Watson & Associates, our government contractor defense attorneys dig in to make sure that the prosecution has a very strong and risky case. Afterward, we would have you consider your providing proffer evidence. In other situations, when the risk of going to trial puts the client at a great disadvantage, then cooperation with the prosecution could be a viable option.  Here you could get a reduced penalty in exchange for your cooperation.

Statement & Benefits of Proffer Agreements In Federal Criminal Cases

The benefits of proffer agreements in federal criminal cases may include reduced sentencing, dismissal of some charges, or an invitation to assist law enforcement with criminal investigations. You should not look at a proffer agreement as a promise of absolute immunity from the government. The feds can structure the agreement how they see fit.

This can be tricky because when trying to develop defense strategies and negotiate a proffer agreement but no deal can be made, the government may have reason to come after you more because it thinks you may have been more involved. The government can also use your proffer statements to create leads for other potential defendants in the case. See Kastigar v. United States (1972).

Process: The agreement must be accepted by the court, and the defendant and prosecution must agree to its terms. The defendant will usually present written documents outlining their proffer letter to the federal prosecutor, who in turn submits the documents to the court for approval.

What are Considerations When Criminal Defendants Enter into a Proffer Agreement?

While a proffer agreement can lead to a favorable outcome for all parties, it is important to consider the complications that can occur should one of the parties fail to uphold their end of the agreement. When criminal defendants enter into a proffer agreement, also known as a “proffer” or “queen for a day” agreement, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. Here are some key factors to consider:

1. Confidentiality: Proffer agreements typically include provisions that protect the statements made by the defendant during the proffer session from being used against them in subsequent criminal proceedings. However, it’s essential to carefully review and understand the scope of confidentiality provided by the agreement. Ensure that any promises of confidentiality are clearly defined and explicit to avoid unintended consequences.

2. Voluntariness: The defendant should enter into the proffer agreement voluntarily, without coercion or duress. It’s important to understand that participation in a proffer session is not mandatory, and the defendant has the right to refuse to provide any statements.

3. Cooperation Obligations: Proffer agreements often require the defendant to provide complete and truthful information about their own criminal conduct and, in some cases, information about the criminal conduct of others. Understand the extent of the cooperation obligations outlined in the agreement and the potential consequences for failing to meet those obligations.

4. Limited Use of Proffer Statements: Proffer statements are typically protected from use against the defendant in subsequent criminal proceedings. However, it’s crucial to understand the limitations on the use of proffer statements. In some cases, the government may be able to use the statements for impeachment purposes or as evidence of false statements if the defendant provides inconsistent or contradictory information.

5. Proffer in Court and Possible Waiver of Attorney-Client Privilege: In certain situations, proffer agreements may require the defendant to waive their attorney-client privilege with respect to communications made during the proffer session. Understand the implications of this waiver and consult with legal counsel to ensure that the defendant’s rights and interests are protected.

6. Negotiation of Plea Agreement: A proffer session may serve as a platform for negotiation and discussions about a potential plea agreement. Understand that any offers, discussions, or negotiations during the proffer session are not binding unless explicitly incorporated into a formal plea agreement.

7. Legal Representation: It is crucial to have legal representation throughout the proffer process. An experienced government contractor criminal defense attorney can help review and negotiate the proffer agreement, advise on the potential risks and benefits, and guide the defendant in making informed decisions.

It’s important to note that court proffer agreements can be complex, and the specific terms and implications may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential to fully understand the considerations and potential ramifications before entering into a court proffer agreement.

Alternatives to Signing a Proffer Agreement

What is a proffer in court?  Other alternatives to signing a proffer agreement for defendants are entering into plea negotiations or going to trial; however, proffer agreements tend to provide more flexibility and are generally seen as a more preferred option to government contractors facing government contract fraud charges.

Although proffer agreements can be beneficial to all parties, they should only be entered into after careful discussion with your contractor defense attorneys and after consideration of all the risks associated with the deal. The help of an experienced government contractor criminal defense attorney is recommended in such cases.

If the government has a strong case against you, cooperating with the government via a proffer agreement may be a viable option. As federal defense proffer law lawyers for government contractors, we can advise our clients to cooperate if:

The government’s criminal case is so strong, and the evidence is so overwhelming, and there is a slim to none chance that the client cannot win at trial. An example would be emailing between two government contractors suggesting that they agree to defraud the government in the HUBZone program. When the evidence on its face would admit the crime.

To get partial or full immunity. Clients also could agree to cooperate with the government in exchange for complete or partial immunity. This type of proffer agreement comes into place when the government really has a stronger interest in another contractor or defendant. 

Duty to Disclosure Information: If you are considering a proffer agreement in a federal criminal case involving government contracts, you are expected to share with the government everything you know about the case and other actual or potential. In a proffer letter, you are expected to tell the truth. The defendant is legally required to tell the truth and not withhold relevant information.  A proffer agreement requires you to talk about your guilt and the actual actions you were involved in.

What happens if you lie to the Government.?If a federal prosecutor finds out that you have lied to obtain a proffer agreement, those false statements can be used against you at trial. When you attend the proffer session, the government’s attorney will warn you that statements you make resulting from the proffer agreement must be truthful and honest. They will also warn you that omitting information or statements can be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 1001. The general rule is that making false statements to a federal agency (including investigators) is considered a crime. This is one aspect of signing a proffer agreement that could get you prosecuted.


Contact Our Government Contractor Proffer Agreement Lawyers

Hire a federal criminal defense attorney who understands federal contracting and what is a proffer agreement. If you are a government contractor or federal employee who has been issued a target letter or part of a federal investigation, or offered a proffer deal, you can also cooperate with the government in exchange for a lesser charge or some level of immunity. 

Our government contractor fraud defense lawyers can help you understand the proffer definition and types of agreements and see if it can help you in your criminal case. Watson’s government contractor criminal defense attorneys can discuss the possibility of a proffer agreement with the government.

Speak to Theodore Watson, Lead Criminal Defense Counsel. Call 1.866.601.5518.