No matter what circumstances led to your decision to hire an attorney, you may be in unfamiliar territory and feel somewhat confused about the entire process. It's natural to be apprehensive about your first meeting with your new lawyer, and you may be wondering just how much you can trust that the information you give your attorney will go no further. In fact, there are some guidelines in place that cover your concerns, so read on for more information.
Your Privileged Communications
Attorney-client privilege guarantees that everything you say, send electronically or communicate in any way becomes confidential material. The attorney can never be forced or ordered to reveal anything you tell him or her. This privilege exists indefinitely, it never expires. In fact, even if you never hire your attorney, sign a contract with your attorney or pay him any money, your communication with that attorney remains confidential forever.
Exceptions to Attorney-Client Privilege
While in most cases you are covered by this privilege, it's important to note that in some situations, your communications are not covered under this important legal provision.
Third Party: Something as simple and natural as bringing along a friend or family member to the meeting with your attorney can mean that everything discussed in that meeting is no longer privileged. Additionally, meetings in crowded public settings, where you may be overheard, can also put your communication privileges at risk. Interestingly enough, anyone who overhears your discussion with your attorney could be called upon to testify in court.
Intentions: Your intentions when talking to a lawyer are also important; you must be seeking legal advice and not just having a friendly conversation with someone who is also an attorney.
Potential Future Acts: Your plans or intentions to commit crimes, fraud, or to cover up a crime in the future won't be protected under attorney-client privilege. Attorneys in most states must report threats to do harm. However, communications about any past criminal acts, no matter how heinous, are protected. Hypothetical questions are also privileged.
The possibility of exposing information that could be used against you in a court of law should compel you to approach attorney-client privilege cautiously. If you are unsure about any information you are about to divulge, give your attorney a chance to stop you before you speak. The ability to have open and honest communications with your attorney is a hallmark of the justice system and allows your attorney to provide you with a competent and strong legal defense.
To learn more, contact a company like Metropolitan Lawyer Referral Service Inc.Share
9 November 2015
When I started my first small business, I had no idea how much I really didn’t know. I was fully prepared to deal with customers, sell product and even handle complaints and returns. What I wasn’t aware of was that there is so much more to it. I was lacking the legal expertise to protect the company and myself. I wanted others to benefit from my experience, mistakes and lessons learned, so I started this blog. From employment law to the legal business contracts you’ll have to sign when you form partnerships, business law is complex. I hope that the information here will help you to be better prepared when you start your business so that you’ll know when you need to call an attorney and when you can handle things yourself.