If you’re working with a criminal lawyer, you’ve probably already heard that anything you say to him remains completely confidential (with very few exceptions, i.e., you are an imminent threat to yourself or to someone else). What’s the reasoning behind this law? It is to encourage open and honest communication between the attorney and his client. Without the confidential privilege, clients would be forced to withhold information, thus harming their own cases. But even with the confidentiality laws in place, many defendants do this, anyway. Here are some of the things you should stop holding back.Your Legal TroublesIf you’ve ever been in trouble with the law in the past, you should tell your criminal lawyer about it as soon as possible. You can be sure that if you have any skeletons in your closet, the prosecutors will do everything they can to bring it out in court. Even if it’s barely relevant, it could influence a jury. Your attorney will do what he can to keep this information away from their ears, but it doesn’t do you any good to let him get ambushed. Think of your attorney as an extension of yourself. This other self went to law school and has the talent and knowledge to represent you in court, and there is no reason to keep any secrets.Your InvolvementIf the matter of your involvement in a crime is what is at question in a trial, your criminal lawyer probably needs to know what he’s dealing with. Every attorney will be different in this regard. Ask before you blurt. Some defense attorneys make it a point to never ask their clients if they are guilty or innocent and instead proceed strictly based on the evidence before them. Others want to know every last true detail so they can avoid being ambushed by something coming out in the future. If your attorney wants to know exactly what you did and didn’t know or do, go ahead and tell him. If he uses this information to formulate a strategy you don’t agree with, you can always hire someone else.Potential WitnessesIf you’re going to build a defense (and you may not want or need to), you’re going to need witnesses to come and speak for you at trial. One such witness may be yourself, although many a criminal lawyer only puts their client on the stand as a matter of last resort. Think of anyone else that can support your story and recommend them to your attorney.
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