What is Attorney-Client Privilege?
If you’re looking for an immigration lawyer or criminal defense attorney in Harrisonburg VA, you may have questions about confidentiality and your visit to our office.
A foundational principle of the attorney-client relationship is that an attorney must keep his client’s secrets confidential. Period. This is an ethical rule that, if violated, can result in disbarment, civil liability, etc. An attorney is not allowed to reveal his client secrets.
A related legal doctrine is the attorney-client privilege, a rule of evidence that says that a lawyer cannot be compelled or forced to reveal client confidences (unless waived by the client). For example, the prosecutor or a judge cannot subpoena a lawyer to testify about what a client told him about a crime.
If you’re in a legal situation, you should at least talk to an attorney. And to ensure your attorney is fully equipped to help you, it’s essential that you fully disclose to him what happened. Sharing such details can be intimidating or embarrassing, but that is why the rules regarding confidentiality were created: to make sure you can reveal everything to your attorney, with the assurance that he is legally bound to not tell anyone else.
The Attorney-Client Relationship
Your lawyer needs to know the details of your case to properly represent you in the legal system. You count on him to be an expert in a complex field. He counts on you to give him all the information he needs to best represent you.
Unless a client decides to waive (give up) the attorney-client privilege, the privilege never expires (even after a client’s death). It’s important to keep in mind what qualifies as a “classified” communication to your attorney. For example, if you send an email to your lawyer from your work email address and others at your work have access to that account, it’s not actually private and therefore cannot be covered within the attorney-client privilege. Do your best to limit your communications to your attorney through face-to-face or secure telephone conversations. Further, having another person present for a conversation with the lawyer might cancel the privilege — the communication was not intended to be secret.
Let us know if you have questions about attorney-client privilege. We’re the Harrisonburg Virginia attorneys who will make sure you’re fully informed about the legal process, ensuring you’re completely prepared before, during, and after your trial for what to expect and how to increase your chances for a positive outcome.
Our Harrisonburg lawyers offer free initial criminal defense consultations. And, yes, the initial consultation is protected by both confidentiality and by attorney-client privilege.
Please contact us for a quote. Se habla español. We hope to have the opportunity to support you.
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