Breaking Down Attorney-Client Privilege: What it Means and How it Can Affect Your Case
Lawyers provide legal advice regarding legal matters. Clients want assurances that what they discuss with the lawyer will remain private. The attorney-client privilege protects these clients from having their information used against them if they discuss their situation openly.
Privileged Information: What Is It?
Privacy and confidentiality are legal rights. During discovery or a court hearing or trial, the court cannot force a person to disclose privileged information. With very limited exceptions, what you tell your lawyers in St. Louis is protected by the attorney-client privilege.
The attorney-client privilege protects any information you share with lawyers in St. Louis. You cannot compel your attorney to testify against you or disclose the contents of your conversations. Furthermore, you cannot be forced to disclose the information discussed with your attorney.
Lawyers in St. Louis need to understand all information pertaining to a case to provide legal representation. When a client holds back information, it could negatively affect the outcome of the case. As a result, the attorney-client privilege encourages clients to tell their lawyers in St. Louis everything about their cases because they understand that it remains confidential.
Taking Advantage of Attorney-Client Privilege in Criminal Cases in St. Louis
The following requirements must be met before the attorney-client privilege can apply to a conversation between an attorney and a client:
- The conversation transpired between you and the lawyer
- You wanted legal advice from the lawyer regarding a legal matter.
- The lawyer acted in their capacity as an attorney
- Whenever you provide information to an attorney, you expect that it will remain confidential and private
When an attorney-client relationship exists, confidentiality is attached. An attorney-client relationship can be established by signing a retainer agreement or paying the attorney. It is also evidence of an attorney-client relationship for an attorney to state in court or in legal documents that they represent you.
Some people, however, are afraid to say something during a free consultation with an attorney. The client has not hired the lawyer yet, so does the attorney-client privilege apply to a free consultation?
Due to the fact that you have not hired the attorney, some sources argue that privilege does not apply. Others argue that privilege does apply. Your conversation should remain confidential as long as you meet the requirements.
Ask your lawyer about the attorney-client privilege if you are concerned about discussing specific topics. It is the attorney’s responsibility to confirm that your conversations are protected by privilege, so feel free to discuss all matters in your consultation.
When Does the Attorney-Client Privilege Not Apply?
In a criminal case, the attorney-client privilege may not apply. For example:
- The client could voluntarily waive the attorney-client privilege
- Conversations that take place in public or in front of other people are not protected
- The same attorney represented you in the same matter as another individual. Now you want to sue them
- You seek legal advice to commit fraud (information about prior crimes is confidential).
- Whenever law enforcement officials have reasonable suspicion that you are using attorney-client privilege to plan terrorist attacks, the Bureau of Prisons can monitor your conversations with your lawyer.
Information may not be privileged in all cases. Dates and times of meetings with your attorney are not considered privileged information. Meeting attendees are also not considered privileged information.
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