Should You Admit Your Guilt to Your Lawyer?
Debate continues in the legal industry if clients should admit whether or not they are guilty to their defense lawyers. The answer to this question really depends on your attorney. Some defense attorneys want to know the full extent of their clients’ guilt while others prefer to be kept in the dark.
Ultimately, however, it will be up to the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a shadow of the doubt in court. It is not the job of your defense attorney to necessarily prove your innocence. Rather, his job will be to attack the weakest points in the prosecution’s argument and instill doubt about your guilt in the mind of the judge or jury.
Further, the criminal defense system is designed to make it difficult for the government to convict people and send them to prison. In some instances, it is easier for some defendants to be found innocent rather than for innocent defendants to be guilty.
When it comes to defending you against criminal charges, it does not matter what your attorney thinks of you or the facts of the case. His job is to defend you and to protect your constitutional rights in court.
However, if you are found not guilty, it means the prosecution did not present sufficient evidence to get a conviction of you. Still, most criminal defense attorneys want defendants like you to be completely honest about your involvement in the crime with which you have been charged. When you are fully honest about your level of guilt, your attorney can anticipate how the prosecution will argue the case against you based on the facts and evidence.
Innocent or Guilty
It is up to the judge or jury to decide if you are guilty based on the evidence and facts of the case. Your attorney’s job is to make sure your case is presented in a clear and fair manner and that your constitutional rights are protected from start to finish. You will receive a fair trial and equal treatment when you have a defense attorney representing you.
The best way for your attorney to protect your rights and make sure you get a fair trial is for you to disclose your guilt. When you admit your guilt or participation in the crime, your defense attorney will have the information needed to anticipate how the prosecution will present its case against you.
Based on the facts available to him, he can then formulate a defense to help you avoid the maximum penalty. If possible, he may even be able to bargain down the charges against you.
In reality, however, most defense attorneys automatically assume their clients are guilty. This assumption allows attorneys to prepare the best strategy to defend clients.
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The Pros of Being Truthful
In order for your defense attorney to craft the best defense of your case, he must know all of the details of the situation. This is the only way your attorney will be able to devise a good defense of your position.
In fact, a good defense attorney will still be able to win the case even if the defendant is really guilty. Again, this is only possible if the lawyer knows all of the facts of the case.
Moreover, you probably will not be able to recognize all of the facts that you can use to your advantage if your own defense. A good attorney, however, will look for ways to get you off on the charges or at least get you a plea deal on a lesser charge.
Further, your attorney is legally bound to abide by the attorney-client privilege of your relationship with him. He will be bound by the ethics of the legal profession to not divulge what you have told him without your permission. He can only disclose details of what you and he discuss if you waive your privilege or if he believes you will commit another crime.
Additionally, telling your attorney about your guilt or involvement in a crime will ensure your best interests. Defense attorneys like to win. They will not usually take a case if they do not believe they could win it.
With that, it is important that your attorney has all of the information necessary for your best interests in the proceedings. Without all of the information, your lawyer cannot be effective in defending you.
Finally, admitting your guilt to your defense attorney allows him to secure a lighter sentencing for you if possible. Knowing all of the details can help your defense attorney negotiate a lighter sentence based on the mitigation of the case even if he cannot help you escape the charges entirely.
And the Cons (Naturally!)
Once your defense attorney knows of your guilt, he cannot put you on the stand to testify. He cannot do so because:
- You cannot testify under oath if you will lie
- Your attorney cannot lie on your behalf
- Your attorney may need to recuse himself otherwise
Your attorney may also need to recuse himself if he knows you will commit another crime or he has a personal dilemma or conflict in defending you. However, this is a risk you take in disclosing your guilt to your defense attorney.
What Lawyers Say
Attorneys generally agree that knowing all of the details of a case allows them to defend their clients successfully. Even if they know the defendant has been caught outright committing the crime, they know the truth of the situation and can advise clients on the best chances of acquittal or a reduced sentence.
If your attorney does not have all of the information needed to defend you, he may decide he is wasting his time. He could lose interest in taking your case because of the risk to his professional reputation or his law firm. He may decide the case is not profitable enough for him to defend if he knows you are withholding information from him.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
When it comes to presenting a solid defense in court, your attorney is your best resource and ally. He can provide critical advice about how to stay out of jail or get a reduced sentence.
You should speak to your attorney about your case as soon as possible after you have been arrested or charged. You can contact defense attorney Brett Podolsky today for a free consultation about your case.