IS THE INFORMATION I TELL MY ATTORNEY CONFIDENTIAL?
During the course of an attorney-client relationship, it is likely that the attorney will be informed of information that could hurt the client if it were disclosed. As such, the attorney has a duty to the client to keep that information protected and safely guarded. However, are there instances where the attorney is allowed or required to disclose potentially damaging information that the client has told the attorney?
The Duty of Confidentiality
Attorneys are required to keep almost all information told to them by their clients confidential. This requirement is designed to protect the attorney-client relationship and to encourage clients to inform attorneys of all the details of their case. As such, attorneys are not allowed to talk about their cases or disclose pertinent information to other people without their clients consent. This strict duty of confidentiality even applies in situations where the client tells the attorney that they have committed a crime or know the location of a key piece of evidence.
Exceptions to the Duty of Confidentiality
Although attorneys are required to strictly protect the confidentiality of the information they are told by their clients, there are a few exceptions that require the attorney to disclose confidential information in order to protect the public or the attorney. Generally, attorneys are required to disclose confidential information that a client tells them in the following situations:
- Imminent death or bodily harm;
- Where the client is going to commit a crime;
- Where the client attempts to get the attorney to help the client commit a crime; or
- To prevent fraud or a serious financial harm;
Although these disclosures could produce harm to the client, due to their seriousness, the attorney is required to inform the proper authorities. This is done in order to prevent bad or illegal acts by the client.
Although there are several exceptions that may require the attorney to disclose information that the clients believe to be confidential, the vast majority of information that a client discloses to an attorney must be kept confidential by the attorney. Because of this, it is important to disclose all the pertinent facts to your attorney so that you may receive an adequate defense. If you have any questions regarding what is protected and what is not, talk to your attorney about the scope of confidentiality before talking about anything you may not want disclosed.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.
James Minick is founder and C.E.O. of Minick Law, P.C. James is committed to providing top notch legal services through his team of highly specialized legal professionals. James will defend your rights.