Criminal Defense Lawyer Denver, CO
Popular culture makes relatively frequent references to the federal witness protection program. As a result, most Americans are likely aware of its existence but far fewer understand who it applies to and how it actually works. This is due, in-part, to the fact that dramatizations of witness protection and veiled references to the program’s existence are rarely explained in any detail.
Who Is Eligible for Witness Protection?
There are times when an individual’s knowledge of another’s crime significantly compromises that individual’s safety. Perhaps the most classic scenario used to illustrate this reality is that of a witness to violent mob activity. If members of the mob understand that someone has witnessed their criminal behavior, they will likely take it upon themselves to ensure that the witness remains quiet about what they have seen. In order to best ensure that witness’s silence, they may threaten to harm the witness or the witness’s loved ones.
In this scenario, the witness is placed in a near-impossible position. Not coming forward can be excruciating, as keeping quiet about true injustices is extraordinarily difficult. On the other hand, coming forward could lead to significant individual harm and/or harm to that witness’s loved ones. Witness protection programs are designed to assist individuals caught in situations like this one. When a witness’s testimony is truly valuable and obtaining that testimony places a witness and/or that witness’s loved ones in serious physical danger, that testimony may be traded for entrance in the federal witness protection program.
How Witness Protection Operates
Participants in the federal witness protection program (usually witnesses and their immediate family members) are issued new Social Security numbers and other personal identification documentation. These documents help to build a foundation upon which to establish new identities. The program also generally funds relocation costs, housing and other expenses associated with moving residences and setting up a new professional life. When witnesses can effectively hide their original identities in this way, they tend to remain protected from retaliation associated with providing truly valuable testimony in significant cases.
It is worth noting that not every witness to a crime qualifies for this extreme form of protection. But if you believe you might benefit from this government service, it is worth exploring with an attorney.
Legal Guidance Is Available
If you have concerns about your safety as a witness, please consider speaking with an experienced attorney at your earliest possible convenience. Safety concerns are not to be treated lightly. And although the potential risks you face may not qualify you for a program as extreme as witness protection, there may be a host of other tools and resources available to help ensure that you remain protected.
You may be understandably concerned about the prospect of approaching an attorney if you are currently concerned about your safety. But please consider contacting an criminal defense lawyer Denver, CO trusts at Richard J. Banta, P.C. via a relatively secure method (perhaps place a call on a landline in a location unlikely to be monitored) in order to obtain the guidance and support you are currently in need of.