If you face drug charges, should you flip?
Recent news has put the notion of defendants “flipping” for the prosecution back in the spotlight, and many individuals who face serious charges that involve others are reconsidering using this as part of their defense strategy, especially those facing significant jail time and other consequences for drug crimes.
Drug crimes, unlike some other crimes, almost always involve other parties, unless an alleged drug offender grows their own supply from wild seeds found while out on a hike through the wilderness. For most other people who face drug charges, there is often the possibility of informing on someone else in their supply chain to avoid or minimize punishment.
From a legal standpoint and a personal standpoint, this is not an easy or risk-free course of action, if you decide to go in that direction. Not only may you still face a number of quite severe consequences from a legal standpoint, you may also place yourself in very real danger in your personal life.
What is flipping?
Flipping is a slang legal term that describes the act of agreeing to work with your prosecution team to help build a strong legal case against some other alleged criminal. A prosecutor may frame it in different ways, such as, “You are choosing to take responsibility for your actions,” or “You’re cooperating with justice,” and these are reasonably true representations in many cases.
However, when one suspect chooses to inform on another suspect, it is always important to consider the consequences of this before taking an offer that seems to good to be true. If you inform, for instance, you may still have to serve some jail time, although for much less time. Still, any jail time at all is difficult to serve if your community knows that you informed on your dealer or some other individual who supplied you with drugs.
It is always worth considering what punishments you must still deal with if you choose to inform. Should you choose to push your defense strategy in this direction, you must have a clear plan to deal with the fallout, which may not look pretty.
Do you have other options?
Flipping may seem like an easy way out of trouble with the law, but it rarely is that simple. Don’t underestimate the value of building a strong legal defense using all the legal resources you have. You may have many ways to defend yourself and keep your rights secure before flipping, and may come out better in the long run by building a stronger defense rather than giving in to prosecutorial pressures.
Neil S. Ruskin
188 Montague Street Suite 900
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Local: (718) 237-1547