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What is a proffer? Criminal Defense term defined.

A proffer has two separate meanings depending on its context. The meaning differs on whether it is used in a trial or evidentiary hearing setting or a criminal matter, either in the Federal or State system.

First, if the term is used regarding a trial or evidentiary hearing setting, it is referring to an attorney putting things on the record, solely for appellate purposes, outside the presence of a jury or knowing that the presiding judge isn’t going to consider same during the consideration of the motion. Many appellate standards require the appellant to show certain characteristics concerning the testimony. For example, a defense attorney may want the barred expert to testify as to the specifics of a test they performed to provide context and the specifics of the procedures to the appellate court. It is often times necessary to proffer a witness’s testimony, if the court is otherwise barring the witness from testifying.

Secondly, if the term is being used in the criminal context, it essentially means one of two things. In the federal criminal context, a defendant will receive a proffer letter from the Assistant United State Attorney prosecuting the case giving them immunity for all statements made during the proffer. We discuss these issues elsewhere in our Tampa Federal Criminal Defense attorney blog. These sessions are intended to benefit the defendant by assisting the Government and law enforcement in making further arrests, while assisting the defendant to receive a more favorable sentence later in the case through a positive recommendation from the United States Attorney’s Office to the sentencing judge.

In Florida state courts, each State Attorney’s Office handles it differently. For example, some Offices use systems similarly to the Federal System with formal proffer letters. While other Officers simply uses an informal understanding to permit these sorts of proffers; regardless, they are intended to reach the same goals and objectives as those done in the Federal system.

If you have questions concerning a proffer or other Tampa federal criminal defense issues, contact the Tampa federal criminal defense attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. We have handled thousands of cases throughout the Tampa Bay Area and pride ourselves on finding creative, aggressive solutions to your legal needs. If you would like to contact one of our Tampa federal criminal defense attorneys immediately, please use the “contact us now” tab in the upper right hand corner of our website. We appreciate you taking the time to check out our Tampa federal criminal defense attorney blog and look forward to working with you.