How Much Should I Tell My Criminal Defense Attorney?
As someone facing criminal charges, you have the right to legal counsel. This individual’s job is to analyze your case and advise you on the most favorable course of action. In order to do so, however, you must first discuss the details of what occurred. This is where many people get caught up. Should I tell my attorney everything so that he can best advise me or should I leave out certain unfavorable details and hope for the best?
Your decision will have a lasting impact on the success of your case, but oftentimes, the choice is not yours to make.
“Ok, So What Happened?”
Many lawyers prefer their clients to be candid with them, even if they believe what they say could be possibly incriminating. The reason behind this way of thinking is that your criminal defense efforts are most successful when all the facts are laid out to be examined. This helps your attorney make crucial decisions like whether or not to take your case to trial or engage in negotiation with the state early on.
For example, you’ve been charged with murder, and instead of insisting that you’re innocent, you admit to your attorney that you killed the man. Details are ultimately uncovered that make your use of lethal force justifiable under Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws. This defense would have gone ignored if you chose not to be honest with your attorney from the beginning.
“Nope, Nope, Nope, Can’t Hear You!”
Contrastly, you have lawyers who prefer you share as little information as possible. These attorneys prefer not to be held within the constraints of knowing a specific version of what occurred for ethical purposes.
Per Rule 3.3 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer cannot legally provide evidence that they know to be false. The same goes for their clients. The defendant in a criminal case could be charged with perjury for knowingly testifying to a false version of events.
The Role of Your Criminal Defense Attorney
Ultimately, there’s nothing counterproductive about sharing all facts of the case with your attorney, no matter how unfavorable you think they are. The reason being that a “guilty” defendant can still benefit from going to trial for multiple reasons:
- The prosecution offered an unreasonable plea deal or refused to negotiate
- The prosecution or law enforcement officers violated the client’s rights
- The client is not guilty of the crimes proposed by the state, but rather, lesser crimes
The role of a criminal defense attorney is to find anything that can raise a reasonable doubt in the case, and this is best accomplished when all of the facts are laid out in the open. Your attorney can still push for you to be acquitted by doing a deep dive into the case and evaluating the conduct of law enforcement will also poking holes in the prosecution’s case.
Speak With an Attorney Today
The Orlando criminal defense attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm are here to aggressively protect your best interests. Our team of Board Certified Criminal Trial lawyers consists of zealous advocates for justice. We make sure to pursue all possible courses of action that can result in our client’s charges being lessened or even dropped altogether if possible. Contact us today for a free case evaluation and learn more about what we can do for you.