In very simple terms, immunity in the area of the law means that you are exempt from penalty. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits someone from being required to incriminate themselves. This rule also applies in Michigan. If a person is granted immunity they can speak freely without fear of being charged criminally for what they might say.
On television or in movies you may have heard the phrase, “pleading the fifth” or “taking the fifth”. That is the way of saying questions will not be answered because the answers could be incriminating. Immunity removes that concern.
An offer of immunity must come from a prosecutor and be granted with the approval of the Court. In order to be “officially” granted immunity there must be a court order in existence that is signed by a judge.
There are two types of immunity:
The granting of transactional immunity requires a witness to testify about self-incriminating things in exchange for a promise to never prosecute the witness for information that comes out during his/her testimony. This type of immunity is also called “blanket immunity” or “total immunity” However, a grant of immunity from a Michigan court does not prevent the Federal government from prosecuting the witness for the same offense.
Use and Derivative Use Immunity
A witness given this type of immunity is only protected from future prosecution based on exactly what he or she says on the witness stand and not from any evidence the prosecutor finds to substantiate the witness’ crime.
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney with Expertise in Immunity Issues
A witness who has been granted immunity has the right to an attorney at all times upon request. As Michigan’s premier criminal defense law firm, LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience helping witnesses either be granted immunity or guiding them afterwards. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. will work to get you the most protection allowed by law. At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. we have experience in both federal and state criminal courts and can help in protecting you against the many landmines common with grants of immunity. Please call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our attorneys will contact you.