What Exactly is Attorney/Client Privilege?

If someone has been charged with a crime, he or she has the right to an attorney; a right clearly spelled out by the Miranda warning.  The only way criminal defense attorneys can properly do their job is to understand everything that may have led up to an arrest.  And to understand everything, defense attorneys need to know the truth about what happened to their clients, even if that truth does not necessarily look good for their clients in the eyes of the law.  For this reason, conversations between attorneys and clients are considered privileged, confidential, and inadmissible during a trial.

Attorney-Client privilege allows for pointed legal advice, without the fear of legal jeopardy.  It should be noted that the privilege is not universal and requires certain conditions to be met.  Most importantly, for a defendant to have attorney-client privilege, the defendant must actually be a client, or is seeking to become a client, of the attorney.  Other exceptions also apply.  For example, if defendants try to confide in their attorney, but do so loudly within earshot of other people, anyone who heard the conversation is not silenced by attorney-client privilege.  Also, any communication with an attorney made with the goal of committing or covering up a crime is also not privileged and will typically be reported to the court.

While much more nuanced, the basic understanding of attorney-client privilege is that attorneys can converse with their clients confidentially.  Conversations are not shared with other attorneys, judges, insurance companies, or any other parties that may be involved in a case.  Criminal defense attorneys have an ethical obligation to advocate on behalf of their clients, regardless of the circumstances of the crime or their personal feelings about the case.

The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth takes our responsibilities to our clients seriously.  All information and the details of any conversation between our law firm and our clients is considered protected by attorney/client privileges.  Attorney/client privilege extends beyond the borders of criminal defense cases as well.  It also applies to personal injury, employment law, and all of our other practice areas as well.

We offer free, confidential consultations with no obligation.  Call us today at 888-517-9888 for your free legal consultation.

Leave a Comment