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How Much Should You Tell Your Lawyer?

 Posted on April 17, 2020 in Criminal Law

If you have been charged with a crime, you’re probably running scenarios through your head and trying to determine your best course of action. For many people, challenging their criminal charge with the help of an attorney is the optimal route, but since they’ve typically never been in this situation before, they often wonder just how up front they should be with their lawyer. In today’s blog, we explain how open you should be with your lawyer and why it’s so important to have an honest conversation with your legal team.

Should You Tell Everything To Your Lawyer?

Should you tell the full truth and nothing but the truth when talking to your lawyer, or should you avoid telling things that could cast doubt over your innocence? Before we answer this question, we want to share a piece of advice that we’ve learned along the way.

If a lawyer only defended innocent clients, they wouldn’t stay in business long.

Now, that’s not to say that we’re assuming your guilt, but it speaks to the point that the legal process comes down to more than just guilty or innocent. We’re not here to judge whether or not you’re innocent, we’re here to make sure that you get a fair shake in the criminal justice system. We can do that without making up our mind on your guilt, because quite frankly, that’s not our job to decide. We’re here because you hired us to provide you with the best defense, and the only way we can do that is if we have all the facts.

Even if you believe these facts serve to put you in a negative light, we need to know. If you leave something out and it comes up in court, we won’t have the element of being prepared for these facts. If you admitted something to the cops or they found evidence that is contrary to what you told us, we’re not going to have the luxury of planning a defense to these claims. If we know about the weak points of your case, we can formulate a plan to cast doubt on their validity or shift the spotlight to a weakness in the prosecution’s case. In other words, do not hide anything about your case from your attorney, because doing so can only serve to hurt your case.

If you’re worried that your lawyer will use these facts against you, don’t be. Your lawyer is bound by a confidentiality agreement that states they cannot share anything you said to them with anyone else outside the firm. Not the prosecutor, not the judge, not even their spouse in a casual conversation at home. You are protected by attorney-client privilege, and your attorney can lose their license to practice law if they share privileged information with anyone else.

The only time we’ll caution clients to stay tight-lipped about the facts of their case is when they are talking to us from a recorded line. Jail and prisons typically record all calls in and out of their facility, and these calls should not be assumed to be private. In fact, assume that the jail and the prosecution are listening in to these phone calls, so don’t say anything you don’t want used against you during a call to your lawyer or a family member. We’ll dive into the details of your case when we’re in a secure environment, but never go into incident details on a recorded line, even if you believe attorney-client privilege exists.

If you’re honest with us, we know that we can put forth the best case in your defense. To learn more about what we can do for you, or for help with your legal issue, reach out to the experienced team of lawyers at Appelman Law today.

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