Confidentiality and Your Criminal Defense Attorney – An Overview
Whether a criminal defense attorney, a civil attorney, or just a regular person on the street, almost everybody has heard about, and has a vague idea of, what the luxury of a lawyer-client is. If we haven’t dealt with it directly in our own lives then we have almost definitely had the opportunity to see it on television or in movies in practice.
Yet what really is the lawyer-client privilege? Does that mean when you tell a lawyer anything they can’t tell anyone whatever? And when does it start? Will you hire the lawyer? And when is that going to end? A lawyer is going to take your secrets to their grave? Read on to get answers to these questions.Website Stroleny Law, P.A.
Let’s continue with what you mean by privilege. And, since I’m a criminal defense attorney in Seattle, we’ll use it in criminal law, even if it applies equally to other areas of the law. The attorney-client privilege is the principle that in private (when only the two of you are present) everything you say your lawyer is confidential. Which means the prosecutor can not tell someone what you’ve been dreaming about. They can’t tell their partner, they can’t tell their friends, even if told to do so, they can’t tell the judge. The only way they will share the details that you have told them is to commit a crime or risk somebody’s life or property. It is a great privilege.
And the best thing is that when you walk in the door the privilege starts right. You don’t even have to have the solicitor retained to add the right. It happens automatically and they still have to keep the secrets safe even if you don’t hire the solicitor. Let me give you an example of how powerful that can be. Let’s presume you’re getting a divorce and you’re going to talk about it to a lawyer.
You tell him everything about your situation and what has happened, he quotes you a fee, and you tell him it’s too expensive to find someone else. Your wife comes in a week later, and wants to talk about a divorce with a lawyer. Not only is the lawyer unable to take up the case because he has already spoken to you and defending the wife will pose a dispute, but he can not tell the wife why he can not defend her! It would just drive the wife away. That’s just how strong this privilege is.
And even your life lasts out the luxury. Your secrets are dying with the procurator. In the sense of criminal law, there are examples of people who have admitted to assassinating people (it’s not the execution of a future crime so it’s confidential) to their attorney, another person is tried and convicted of the assassination, and the attorney never told anyone about the confession (it clearly came out later, but in no way influenced the client). So, your secrets are, essentially, free.