How Much Should I Tell My Criminal Defense Attorney

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How Much Should I Tell My Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are meeting with an attorney for the first time, you may be wondering “How much should I tell my criminal defense attorney?” Or “Should I tell my criminal defense attorney I’m guilty?” The answer entirely depends both on you and your attorney’s preference. However, it is absolutely essential that you do not lie to your attorney. It is also very important to identify any case minefields that your attorney may not know about.

Different Preferences of Attorneys About Knowing If You Are Guilty

Similarly to contestants on Chopped, each lawyer does their own thing with the ingredients of the case. In answering the question “How Much Should I Tell My Criminal Defense Attorney” different lawyers may give you different answers. Some attorneys ask point blank in the initial consultations “Did you do it?” and won’t represent a client unless they know the answer to that question. Yet, other attorneys ask the client to tell them about their case, but specifically tell the client they do not want to know if the client is guilty.

Attorneys at our Firm generally fall somewhere in the middle of these two positions. Our preference is to know as much as the client is comfortable sharing. With that being said, at the initial consultation, we are practically strangers to our clients. With time, our relationship develops and we develop rapport. It is not surprising to us if the client tells us a different story or adds more details than what s/he initially told us in the first consultation.

We’ve Heard It All. Promise.

If you are feeling embarrassed about the allegations, and feel uncomfortable telling anyone what happened, don’t be. We have counseled hundreds, if not thousands of clients and have heard it all. To get an idea of cases we’ve done in the past, check out our representative cases. Your case and the allegations do not define you as a person. Usually, people who are accused of crimes just made a mistake or got wrapped up in someone else’s criminal conduct. We won’t judge you or the criminal charges in your case. Share as much information as you feel comfortable, and we will get through this together. There is absolutely no need to feel worried with telling your attorney what has happened, because the only person you can safely talk about your case is your lawyer and the rest of your defense team.

Plea Negotiations Are Built on Trust

As a defendant on the criminal case, you are unable to communicate directly with the Judge or with the prosecutor handling your case. That’s your attorney’s job. Your attorney will be persuading the prosecutor, and in some situations, the judge to offer you a certain plea offer. If at any point, your attorney presents information to the prosecutor that is not 100% accurate, your attorney loses credibility. Once that happens, it is a lot harder to get the plea that you are looking for.

While it is important to tell your attorney only as much as you feel comfortable sharing, you should not be telling your attorney false or misleading information. That can only have a detrimental effect on your case. To answer the question of “How Much I Should Tell My Criminal Defense Attorney?” – share are much as you feel comfortable, but do not provide false or misleading information. That can only result in more issues with your case. Especially, if the false version of the events gets communicated to the District Attorney’s Office.

Duty of Confidentiality And Attorney Client Privilege

Under New York’s Attorney Rules of Professional Conduct, (Rule 1.6 specifically), your attorney owes you a duty of confidentiality. The general rule is that whatever you tell your attorney is protected by attorney client privilege. (There are, however very limited exceptions that allow for disclosure in situations where there may be a risk of future serious physical injury or death to someone else).

Thus, your concerns of your attorney sharing whatever you tell them with others are not legitimate. The only people your attorney discusses your case with, if anyone, are other attorneys at the Firm. That is frequently done to obtain a second opinion or another perspective on your case, or an evidentiary issue.

You should share as much as you feel comfortable sharing about your case. There is no worry about your attorney sharing the information about your case with anyone else.

Must Avoid Minefields At All Costs

Your lawyer won’t work any less on getting you a great result for your case if your lawyer knows you are guilty of the crime. As the case develops, your attorney will obtain case documents and other discovery on your case. Your lawyer will get your arrest reports, complaint reports, any medical paperwork of the complainant, video surveillance and photographs of the crime scene. Your attorney will thus develop their own view of your case and the merits of the allegations.

However, it is very important to remember that as your case progresses, frequently the District Attorney’s Office and the police are continuing their own investigation. Thus, if there are certain things that are not part of your case, but you believe may be discovered by the police upon further investigation, your attorney should know that. Thus, the goal in answering the question of “How Much Should I Tell My Criminal Defense Attorney” is enough for your attorney to avoid minefields, that can put your case in a worse situation.

Example of Avoiding Minefields in Criminal Cases

Client is charged with unlawful surveillance for upskirting a woman in the store. Client discloses to attorney that in addition to the one incident that the police know about, there are multiple other incidents of the client doing the same thing. If the police continue with their investigation, they will be able to uncover these other instances of other criminal conduct committed by client. Therefore, the minefield in this hypothetical is allowing the investigation to continue. Thus, the attorney should be very aggressive in pursuing an early resolution of your case in order to prevent the police investigation to continue.

Contact Top Rated New York Criminal Defense Attorneys

Hopefully this answered your question of “How Much Should I Tell My Criminal Defense Attorney” about my case. If you would like to discuss your case with us, please contact us to schedule your initial consultation.