Can My Criminal Defense Attorney Tell On Me?
If you are facing criminal charges and working with a criminal defense attorney, one of the questions you might be asking yourself is whether your attorney can reveal the information you share with them to another person. In other words, you are likely asking yourself, “Can my criminal defense attorney tell on me?”
So, can your criminal defense lawyer tell on you? There are legal protections in place that prevent attorneys from sharing the information they receive from their clients with other people. Generally, your criminal defense attorney cannot tell on you unless it is absolutely necessary. Read on to learn more.
The legal concept that prevents your criminal defense attorney from telling other people, such as the prosecutor, a friend, an employee, or a family member, about the things you share with them is called attorney-client privilege. The attorney-client privilege binds both court-appointed defense attorneys and private defense attorneys. Because of the attorney-client privilege, when you share information with your criminal defense attorney in confidence, your attorney cannot share that information with other people without your express permission unless in limited circumstances.
When Do You Lose Your Right to Confidentiality?
As hinted in the previous section, there are times when your attorney is permitted to tell on you. And not only may your attorney be allowed to tell on you, but they may also be required by law to tell on you. For example, if you make communication for the purpose of committing a crime or fraud or in the furtherance of fraud or another crime, your attorney may be permitted and required by law to tell on you. Your criminal defense attorney may also be allowed to tell on you if they believe you are a danger to yourself or others. That said, at the end of the day, you can rest assured that your criminal defense attorney will not tell on you unless absolutely necessary.
It is also crucial to note that if you act in a manner that does not protect the secrecy of your communication, you risk giving up the attorney-client privilege. Firstly, you risk losing your right to confidentiality if you communicate with your criminal defense attorney loudly in public and others overhear your conversation. When you talk to your attorney loudly in public and other people overhear your discussion, it is not reasonable to expect that your communication remains confidential.
Secondly, you risk losing confidentiality if you share the conversations between you and your attorney with other people (other than your spouse since there is a separate privilege for spousal communications). If you reveal the conversations between you and your criminal defense attorney to other people, such as your friend or sibling, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.
Additionally, if you invite others to be present while speaking with your criminal defense attorney, you may lose the right to claim the meeting was confidential.
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