If you're facing potential conviction for a crime, one of your greatest assets is your professional relationship with your criminal defense attorney. The American justice system is designed to protect that professional relationship by extending to you the right of attorney-client privilege. The more you understand about this privilege, the more productive and fruitful your conversations with your attorney will be.
What is attorney-client privilege?
Attorney-client privilege is one of the fundamental concepts in the United States justice system. At its core, the attorney-client privilege protects communication between lawyers and their clients, and an attorney cannot be compelled to testify against his or her client in court. Clients and attorneys share this privilege because a client must be able to communicate openly with his or her lawyer for the lawyer to give the best advice and counsel to the client.
Are all communications between attorney and client protected?
Not all communications are protected. Communication that occurs when a client asks his or her attorney for advice regarding a crime that is presently being committed or a crime that will be committed in the future is often found to be an exception to the client-attorney privilege.
In other words, you cannot seek advice about a crime you're thinking about committing in order to commit that crime more strategically or to minimize your own potential for prosecution.
How is it determined whether or not an exception applies?
This is determined by the court on a case-by-case basis.
If you lie on the witness stand and your lawyer knows, can your lawyer tell the judge?
Your lawyer has a duty to you, the client, and also a duty to the court. While your lawyer cannot tell the court if you perjure yourself on the witness stand, your attorney also cannot knowingly participate in this kind of activity. The appropriate course of action for your lawyer in this case is to request a substitute lawyer to take over the case.
The job of your criminal defense attorney is to protect you, and in order to do that, you and your attorney must have open communication. This is why the American justice system has granted attorney-client privilege: it exists to protect you. If you have more questions about this privilege, speak with your criminal defense attorney. He or she can answer your questions and give you advice that will enable you to have open and useful conversations about your case. On place you can contact is the Law Offices of Michael K. Tasker.Share
17 November 2015
Few things are more frustrating than being accused of a crime that you didn't commit. I found myself in this difficult situation a few years ago when I was with a friend who broke the law. However, I knew that I didn't do anything, which is why I hired an experienced criminal attorney to help me out. He carefully reviewed my case, talked with me about what court would be like, and helped me to wrap my head around the different punishments I might face. He helped to prove my innocence, and I decided to set up this blog to help other people to understand the importance of working with a professional.