Is Immunity in Exchange for Testimony Real?
Under the Fifth Amendment of U.S. Constitution, all Americans have the right to remain silent in the criminal justice system. This guarantees that a person does not have to say anything that may incriminate them after they’re been arrested. But even if someone invokes the Fifth Amendment, the prosecutor may offer them immunity in exchange for a testimony.
Transactional Immunity in exchange for testimony in Arizona
There are two basic types of immunity a prosecutor can offer. The first is transactional immunity. This is the broadest type of immunity and it offers protection from any future prosecution for any of the matters mentioned in the immunized testimony. It does not offer immunity on any criminal activities mentioned that were unrelated to the immunized testimony. Transactional immunity is also not always available, like in the federal system.
As an example of transactional immunity, suppose that the witness and the defendant committed an armed bank robbery together. The prosecutor may grant the witness transactional immunity for admitting their participation in the robbery while testifying against the defendant in the defendant’s trial.
Use and Derivative Use Immunity for testifying in Arizona
Use and derivative use immunity is used more commonly than transactional immunity. It is a narrower immunity and is used by both state and federal prosecutors. It prevents the prosecution from using the witness’s statement or any evidence from the statement against the witness in a criminal prosecution.
Use and derivative use immunity doesn’t prevent a prosecutor from finding more evidence and using it against the witness later. If the witness hints at committing another crime during their testimony, the prosecutor can find independent evidence that they committed that crime and prosecute them for it later.
If you would like to speak to a lawyer about immunity in exchange for testimony, contact us here.