How Much Should I Tell My Defense Attorney?

Photo of meetingWhen you and your criminal defense attorney sit down to discuss your case, your lawyer will need to know all the details you can provide if you want the best defense. That way, they know for sure what will and what won’t work for a defense.

Without knowing all the details, your attorney won’t be able to accurately advise you on what to do regarding your case. It will also be very difficult to determine the best kind of defense they should work towards.

For example, if you’ve been charged with killing your husband, but you don’t tell your lawyer about the history of physical and emotional abuse he put you through over the years, your lawyer can’t use that history as part of your defense.

Additionally, without knowing everything, your defense lawyer may not be able to argue self-defense, or that someone else committed the crime.

Attorney/Client Privilege

Whatever you say to your attorney is protected by attorney/client privilege so they can never share what you tell them. So, even if you admit to committing the crime with which you are charged, your lawyer cannot tell anyone. Instead, telling your lawyer everything may help them create a stronger defense.

What If I Did It?

Just because you’ve told your lawyer that you’re guilty of the crime you’ve been charged with, doesn’t mean that the case shouldn’t go to trial. In fact, your attorney may decide that your case absolutely should go to trial for any number of reasons. For example,

  • If the police violated your rights
  • If you were charged with something other than your crime
  • If the prosecution was uncooperative or refused to negotiate during plea bargaining
  • If they feel a judge and jury might be sympathetic

When it comes time to talk to your lawyer, honesty really is the best policy. Without knowing everything, your defense attorney may not be able to provide you with the best defense possible.


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