Should I Tell My Attorney the Whole Truth?
Posted on Jul 15, 2015 7:00am UTC
Hiring an attorney to represent you in a criminal case and not being honest about what happened is probably the result of a common misconception that people have about criminal defense lawyers. Your attorney does not have to like you or believe that you are innocent in order to represent you. Not telling the truth to make yourself or the situation sound better is counterproductive and could end up hurting your defense.
It’s all about the evidence
The prosecutor in a criminal case has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is accomplished by presenting evidence that proves each element of the crime and your involvement in committing it.
The role of your Houston criminal defense attorney is to fight for you by challenging the strength of the evidence and poking holes in the case presented by the prosecutor. Your attorney will do this regardless of his or her personal feelings toward you. Lawyers do not have to like their clients in order to perform the job of representing and defending them.
Planning a defense strategy
Usually, a criminal defense attorney has only the information provided by the client to begin to put the pieces together to build a defense strategy to counter the prosecution evidence. Knowing what the prosecutors have or might have as evidence is important for your attorney in order to evaluate the strengths or weaknesses of the case against you.
Hiding the truth for fear that your Houston attorney might not like you can actually hurt your defense. Creating a defense strategy begins with an evaluation of the case your attorney anticipates the prosecutor presenting against you. Misleading information that you give could make it difficult or impossible for attorney to do an accurate assessment of the evidence and how to challenge it.
For example, telling your attorney that you were somewhere other than where the crime took place in order to support your claim of innocence could backfire on you. Your lawyer might waste time pursuing this possible alibi defense instead of focusing on other aspects of the case, or your alibi defense could fall apart during the trial.
The limits of the attorney client privilege
Confidentiality and the attorney-client relationship are synonymous. As a general rule, what a client reveals to his or her attorney cannot be disclosed without the client’s consent.
Confiding in your attorney about the facts and circumstances of the criminal case against you will not be disclosed to anyone else without your consent. There are, however, a few things about your relationship with your attorney that should be emphasized in order for confidentiality to apply:
- The attorney must be representing the individual. The privilege does not apply just because the person to whom something is revealed happens to be a lawyer. The attorney must actually be representing you.
- Prosecutors can obtain the information from other sources. Your attorney cannot reveal a confidential communication, but this does not protect you if the information can be obtained from someone other than your lawyer.
- Telling your attorney about a crime you committed is a protected statement, but telling your attorney about a criminal act you are going to commit is not protected.
Should I admit guilt to my Houston defense attorney?
Lawyers are governed by strict ethical rules as to what they can and cannot do in defending a client. Attorney-client confidentiality is just one of them. Another is that attorneys must provide zealous representation in advocating on behalf of their clients, but this does not include offering false or misleading arguments or evidence.
Telling the truth and admitting that you committed a crime does not mean that your attorney cannot defend you. While it might change the defense strategy by preventing your attorney from allowing you to testify at the trial in a way that conflicts with what he or she knows to be the truth, your attorney can still fight for you by challenging the evidence and raising legal issues that cast doubt on the case the prosecutors built against you.
A Houston criminal defense attorney might help
Many criminal defense attorneys in Houston and throughout Texas never ask their clients if they are guilty. Guilt or innocence is an issue for judges and jurors to decide. The defense attorney’s role is to put the government to the task of proving each and every element of the case.
If you have been charged with committing a crime, or if you believe you are under investigation by police, a Houston criminal defense attorney might be of assistance to you. An attorney can answer your questions and address your concerns about your case and your rights regardless of whether you committed the criminal acts or not.
Contact the Law Offices of Billy Skinner
If you need strong defense against criminal charges, contact the the Law Office of Billy Skinner immediately. We will fight hard to protect your rights and freedom. Call 713-600-7777 or email today.