There’s a saying that “snitches get stitches.” I’m not sure how long this saying has existed or who originated it. This is just one of many sayings about informants. The reality is that people are becoming informants to get favorable treatment on their own cases and some are getting paid. There is always a risk of retaliation if or when the identity of the informant is disclosed; however, this risk has not deterred people from working as informants to get paid or get out of jail sentences.
In the past few years I have seen a rise in the number of informants who are paid in cash for each drug deal they arrange and record. These informants are setting up as many deals as they can to get paid. They are not paid to come testify but many will still come to court if they are served with a subpoena. If there are threats made against these informants they can also receive money to help relocate to a different city or state.
There are still people who become informants to get out of their own criminal charges. These informants are generally more likely to appear in court to testify because in court testimony if necessary is often included in their agreement to cooperate. Depending on the situation, these informants may be kept in jail to ensure their availability for trials.
Despite the reasons why people agree to become informants, their criminal history will not prevent them from being informants. Under Florida Statute commonly referred to as “Rachel’s Law” law enforcement is supposed to conduct a background check of people before using them as informants; however, nothing prevents a person with prior felonies or crimes of dishonesty from working as informants. The informant’s criminal history is relevant for impeachment at trial and can be used to attack the credibility of the informant. In most cases the informant does a video or audio recording of the transaction and the credibility of the informant is