If you've been charged with a crime of any kind, the first thing you should do is retain a criminal defense lawyer. However, it's important that you understand how to make the most of your lawyer's services. Your defense lawyer can't adequately build your defense case without your cooperation. However, many people hesitate to be completely honest with their lawyer out of fear that he or she will have to disclose it in court. Even if you're guilty, you should be completely honest with your lawyer. Here are a few things you should know about the legal perspective of that information.
You Can't Be Forced To Disclose It
No matter what you tell your attorney during your meetings, you can't legally be forced to disclose that information in court or to anyone else. Attorney-client privilege protects you from the courts, or the other party, having you subpoenaed over your attorney conversations. You have no legal obligation to repeat that information to anyone else at any time throughout your case.
Your Attorney Can't Be Forced To Disclose It
Attorney-client privilege is a privilege held by the client, protecting the client's information. Just as you can't be forced to disclose what you've said to your attorney while seeking legal advice, your attorney cannot be forced, whether by subpoena or in any other manner, to disclose what you have told them in confidence. As long as you retain your rights to privilege, that information is protected. However, your attorney cannot knowingly permit you to commit perjury in court, so he or she cannot allow you to testify that you did not do something if you have already told them that you did.
Some Things Don't Qualify For Privilege
Despite the fact that attorney-client privilege is automatically granted as part of the attorney-client relationship, there are some things that are not protected under privilege. For example, if you tell your attorney that you are planning to commit a crime, no matter what type of crime, he or she has a legal obligation to turn you in. Even statements about hiding assets, plans for witness tampering, or intent to destroy evidence could all be considered a plan to commit a crime. Intent to commit a crime is not protected by attorney-client privilege.
Privilege Can Be Waived, Even Unintentionally
You do have the legal right to waive your privilege with your attorney. Typically, this is done by signing a form that permits your attorney to disclose information, but it can also be waived verbally in some instances.
However, you may also waive your privilege unintentionally. If you disclose the same information to a third party, even if it's just through them overhearing your conversation, that automatically voids the privilege for that information because it has been shared beyond the attorney-client relationship.
If you want your criminal defense attorney to provide you with the best possible defense services, you need to be as open and honest as possible. Now that you understand the nature of attorney-client privilege, you can see how that is legally possible for you to do. For more information, reach out to a criminal defense attorney.Share