This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can I Request Proof of a Controlled Buy Before Becoming a CI?

Question from Wehon, Can I Request Proof of a Controlled Buy Before Becoming a CI?

Answer from AI:

When approached by a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) agent or any law enforcement officer claiming they have evidence against you, such as a controlled buy, and then they ask you to become a confidential informant (CI), it’s natural to have many questions and concerns. Understanding your rights and the legal implications is crucial before making any decisions.

Understanding Controlled Buys and Confidential Informants

A controlled buy refers to a law enforcement operation where an informant or undercover agent purchases illegal substances from a suspect under controlled conditions. This operation is often used to gather evidence against individuals involved in drug trafficking or sales.

Becoming a CI involves working with law enforcement to provide information or assistance in investigations, usually in exchange for leniency or immunity from prosecution for your own legal issues. It’s a significant decision that carries risks and responsibilities.

Requesting Proof of Evidence

Can you ask for proof of a controlled buy? Yes, you can ask, but law enforcement is not necessarily required to provide you with detailed evidence at this stage, especially if doing so could compromise an ongoing investigation. However, here are some important considerations:

  • Right to an Attorney: Before agreeing to anything or discussing the matter further, it’s within your rights to request to speak with an attorney. An attorney can provide legal advice, help you understand your options, and potentially negotiate terms with law enforcement on your behalf.
  • Understanding the Evidence: While you can ask about the evidence, law enforcement may only provide limited information. They might confirm the existence of evidence such as a controlled buy but may withhold specific details like the date, location, or how the operation was conducted.
  • Legal Proceedings: If charges are filed against you in the future, your attorney can request discovery, which includes all evidence the prosecution intends to use against you. This is the stage at which you would be able to see the proof of the controlled buy.

Considerations Before Becoming a CI

Before agreeing to become a confidential informant, consider the following:

  1. Legal Representation: Consulting with a criminal defense attorney is crucial. They can advise you on the risks and benefits of becoming a CI and help protect your rights.
  2. Risks and Responsibilities: Understand the risks involved, including potential danger to your safety and the legal implications of your actions as a CI.
  3. Agreements: Any agreement to become a CI should be clearly understood and ideally documented. Know what is expected of you and what you can expect from law enforcement in return.


While you can request information about the evidence against you, such as a controlled buy, law enforcement may not provide all details immediately. It’s essential to seek legal advice before making any decisions about cooperating with law enforcement as a confidential informant. Remember, every situation is unique, and what might be the right decision for one person may not be suitable for another.

For more information on your rights and the legal process, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) provides resources that might be helpful. Additionally, consulting with a criminal defense attorney is highly recommended to get advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

Remember, this information is not legal advice, and it’s important to consult with a legal professional for guidance related to your situation.

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