Opening Up To Your Criminal Defense Attorney
There is seldom a more important time to be open and forthright with your attorney. Being arrested on a criminal matter presents many with an extremely difficult situation. If you are honest with your criminal defense lawyer, your lawyer can do a good job of representing you. Read on to find out more about attorney-client confidentiality and how it can affect your case.
What Is Attorney-Client Privilege?
Legal scholars long ago recognized the value of preserving a lawyer's right to full disclosure from their clients. Clients can trust their lawyers thanks to provisions meant to protect confidential speech. This privilege goes well beyond speech, though, and covers all forms of communication from text messages and flash drives to sign language and hand signals. If you communicate something to your attorney or a member of their legal team working under them, it's protected.
What Is the Purpose of Confidentiality?
This provision is about more than just knowing that your issues won't be discussed at a party or written about in a newspaper. It's about the right to build a good defense case for the client. It protects the client from prosecution no matter what they say to their lawyer. The lawyer, if ordered by a judge, cannot be forced to reveal anything said to them under the client confidentiality rules. Simply put, being honest with your lawyer allows them to be prepared for whatever the prosecution throws at them.
What Is Protected and What Is Not Protected
Are you guilty of the crime with which you have been charged? It might not be wise to tell others, but you can be honest with your lawyer. In almost all cases, they must not reveal anything you say to them. However, there are a few exceptions to be aware of:
- Future crimes: If you threaten to commit a future crime or if your lawyer believes you are about to commit a crime, they are bound by judicial provisions to report that to the authorities. If they don't, they could face disbarment. Don't make remarks about future crimes, even in jest. However, you can always ask your lawyer about what would happen if you did commit such a crime, hypothetically speaking.
- Accidental disclosures: When a conversation with your lawyer is accidentally overheard, it's no longer confidential. How this is handled depends on what the person who heard something does with the information. Be sure your conversations with your attorney are in secure locations where no one can overhear you.
To find out more about attorney-client confidentiality, speak to a criminal defense lawyer.