When faced with criminal charges, you need a criminal defense lawyer on your side. But when a situation like this occurs, should you be honest with your criminal defense lawyer? Should you tell them everything? Or do you keep certain facts to yourself? It’s an internal conflict that most people charged with a crime will experience. Unfortunately, there’s not one clear cut answer to these difficult questions that will inevitably strike when facing a criminal case. A lot will depend on the situation, if you’re guilty, who your lawyer is, and if he or she wants to know the truth. However, there are some major advantages to being completely honest with your criminal defense lawyer. Here are five reasons to tell the truth.
1. You’re helping them formulate the best possible defense strategy. This is the strongest advantage of being honest with your criminal defense lawyer. When they know all the facts, they have the best chance of designing a defense that can create a level of doubt. Without this knowledge, you’re leaving your criminal defense attorney in a situation to be surprised in a courtroom. That’s never a good thing. You want them to have all of the details so they can defend you in the right way.
2. Your criminal defense lawyer knows the law in a completely different way than you do. Unless you went to law school or you’re well-versed in criminal law, you should let your lawyer do the heavy lifting. You may see some details as incriminating or even minor, but a criminal defense lawyer will see these details from a completely different perspective. Your entire story could change by looking through the lens of the law.
3. Remember the attorney-client privilege. A lot of people will refrain from being honest with their criminal defense attorney because they think they’ll share this information with others. That’s why it’s important to remember that what is said between you and your attorney, stays between you and your attorney. A criminal defense lawyer will only break attorney-client privilege if a client states an intention to commit a further crime or fraudulent act. Attorney-client privilege is important to understand. If you’re charged with a crime, remember that you can be honest with your criminal defense lawyer with the full knowledge that this information stays between the two of you.
4. They’re not there to judge you. They have your best interest in mind. While it might sound silly, this happens more often than not. Many clients will refrain from telling the truth or leave out major details because they’re afraid their lawyer will judge them. If you’re charged with a serious crime, that should be the least of your worries. Besides, it’s a criminal defense lawyer’s job to hear you out and create the best possible outcome for you. Judging you for your actions isn’t on their priority list. Always remember that a good criminal defense lawyer will have your best interest in mind.
5. Your criminal defense lawyer can negotiate better if they know the whole story. For instance, let’s say it’s in the client’s best interest to plead guilty. Their criminal defense lawyer can negotiate to lessen the sentence or have certain charges dropped. But this can only happen if they know the entire story. Leaving out specific details can come back and haunt you in the end. This is especially true when it comes to negotiating.
Still Unsure if You Should be Honest With Your Criminal Defense Lawyer?
While this article sheds light on the advantages of being honest with your criminal defense lawyer, you may still feel unsure about how to proceed. Regardless of your circumstances, it’s important to remember the core commitments of every defense lawyer. Even if you’re guilty, when you tell your criminal defense lawyer the truth, he or she can formulate a plan to defend you in a trial. For instance, your criminal defense lawyer could:
- defend you on lesser crimes that the prosecution has charged you with.
- help you to negotiate if the prosecution has offered an unfair plea deal.
- help you to get a more preferable sentence from the judge.
For More Information
When speaking to your criminal defense attorney for the first time, ask them what details they prefer to know or not know when it comes to your situation. While most attorneys will want to know all of the details, some may feel they can be of better service if they don’t have the entire story. All of this will depend on your criminal case and who your criminal defense attorney is. It’s always recommended to not waste any time when charged with a crime. If you or someone you know has recently been charged with a crime but does not have a lawyer, you must contact one immediately. Your best chance at fairness in the justice system will depend on this relationship. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today for more information.