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How Much Should You Tell Your Lawyer?

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What You Should Tell Your Lawyer

If you have been accused of a crime, you are probably feeling anxious and worried. Whether or not you actually committed the action of which you are accused, it’s normal to feel nervous about appearing in a court of law before a judge, jury and prosecuting attorney. After all, the outcome of your legal case could determine whether or not you will remain free or spend some time in jail.

You might be so worried about your case that you want to hide some things from your lawyer. You might be worried that, if you reveal too much to your attorney, they will turn you in to the police or forfeit your case. Before you decide to keep things from your lawyer, there are some things that you should know about the attorney-client relationship.

Can My Lawyer Turn Me In?

While it is understandable to worry if your lawyer might turn you in if you admit guilt, this fear is not logical and it might even damage your case. First, consider what lawyers do for a living. In the case of a criminal defense attorney, they are responsible for:

  • Protecting their clients’ freedom
  • Ensuring that their clients get fair representation
  • Making sure that the prosecution proves every element of their case

A criminal defense attorney stakes his or her professional reputation on their efforts to protect their client’s rights. In the course of their career, many defense attorneys may have to represent a client who admits guilt. However, if a defense attorney simply turned in every client that came into their office and admitted guilt, they would not be taking on new clients for very long.

In the criminal justice system, everyone is entitled to a fair and vigorous legal defense, not just those people who are innocent. Even a person who is guilty of a crime deserves to have a fair trial so that the prosecution has to explicitly prove their charges. This is the nature of due process, which is an essential component of the justice system in the United States.

There is virtually no chance that your lawyer will turn you in if you admit guilt. It’s simply not in their interest to do so. In fact, they may be legally prevented from divulging facts about your case to others.

Understanding Attorney-Client Privilege

Attorneys are sworn to protect information that you divulge to them after you have hired them to represent you. This is known as attorney-client privilege. Essentially, once you have hired an attorney, they are legally bound to protect the things that you tell them regarding your case.

If lawyers violate this privilege, they could lose their license to practice law and permanently damage their reputation. Unless you give up your right to attorney-client privilege or if your lawyer believes you are about to commit a crime, your lawyer is ethically bound to keep your information secret from anyone else.

Admitting Guilt

Suppose that you committed a crime and you know that you are guilty of the charges that you are facing. Should you be upfront and tell this to your lawyer? Should you keep it a secret to give you a better chance of winning your case?

Remember, a criminal defense attorney is not only interested in proving that you are totally innocent of the charges that you are facing. After all, criminal defense attorneys regularly represent people who are obviously guilty. People who are caught on camera robbing a store or people who are arrested while in the middle of committing a crime are still entitled to legal representation.

In general, lawyers need to know as much information about your case in order to present the best possible legal defense. Without this information, they simply cannot defend you to the best of their ability. In some cases, this information might include an admission of your guilt.

This is especially true if there is a lot of evidence that you are guilty or if the prosecution has a very strong case. In these circumstances, it might not be in your best interest to insist on your innocence and risk a jury trial. In fact, it might be to your advantage to work with your lawyer to enter a guilty plea in a exchange for a reduced sentence or the chance to avoid jail time.

Your lawyer cannot defend you using information that you do not tell them. For this reason, it is in your best interest to share as much information as possible with your attorney. If your lawyer genuinely believes that you are guilty but you are going to lie about your guilt in court, he or she may choose to recuse themselves from your case. However, they are not likely to stand up in court and tell the judge that you are guilty. Instead, you’ll simply have to find a new attorney if your lawyer recuses himself.

Find The Best Representation

If you are worried about divulging certain facts about your case, the best thing for you to do is to find an experienced attorney and hire them to represent you. Remember, you only have attorney-client privilege with a lawyer who is representing you. Only discuss the details of your case with an attorney whom you have hired to represent you in court. If you admit guilt to your lawyer, it may actually help your case in the long run.


Are you or someone you know currently being charged with a crime? Hiring the proper legal defense can be the difference between freedom and prison. Contact attorney Brett Podolsky today to help protect your rights. Contact his office at 713-227-0087.

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