Almost everybody has heard about and has a hazy understanding of the attorney-client privilege, whether they are a criminal defence attorney, a civil attorney, or just a regular citizen on the street. We’ve almost definitely seen it in motion on television or in the movies if we haven’t dealt with it directly in our own lives.You may want to check out New Orleans Criminal Defense Lawyer for more.
But, exactly, what is the attorney-client privilege? Is this to say that if you tell a lawyer anything, they can’t tell someone else? What time does it start? Is it necessary for you to employ an attorney? And when does it come to a close? Will a prosecutor carry your secrets to the grave with you? Continue reading to get answers to these questions.
Let’s start with the definition of privilege. And, since I’m a Seattle criminal defence lawyer, we’ll use it in that sense, even though it applies fairly to other areas of the law. The attorney-client privilege states that whatever you say to your lawyer in private (when just the two of you are present) is kept private. This means the solicitor won’t be able to tell you what you’ve discussed. They are not allowed to inform their wives, friends, or the judge, even though they are told to do so. They will only reveal the details you’ve given them if you’ve committed a crime or someone’s life or property has been lost. It’s a very significant honour.
The best part is that the privilege begins the moment you step through the door. For the right to bind, you don’t even need to have retained an attorney. It happens on its own, and even though you don’t employ the solicitor, they are still obligated to keep the information private. Let me send you an example to demonstrate how effective it is. Let’s say you’re looking for a divorce and you go to a lawyer to discuss your options.
You tell him all about your situation and what’s been going on, he gives you a fee estimate, and you tell him it’s too high and that you’ll find someone else. Your wife comes in a week later and says she wants to speak to a lawyer about getting a divorce. The lawyer can’t take the case because he’s already spoken with you and defending the wife will be a conflict of interest, but he just can’t tell the wife why he can’t represent her! The wife will be simply deported. That is the magnitude of privilege.
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