An Overview Of Attorney-Client Privilege
If you are worried about your lawyer exposing your secrets, you shouldn't be. Attorney-client privilege prevents your lawyer from spilling your secrets. Below is an overview of how attorney-client privilege works.
The attorney-client privilege means that if you share something with your lawyer, the lawyer cannot disclose the information to other third parties. The privilege applies both to communication in all its forms, including oral, written, and electronic information. The rationale for the privilege is that it gives people the freedom to be utterly honest with their lawyers so that the lawyers can perform their duties without any hindrances.
Attorney-client privilege doesn't apply to all conversations or interactions you may have with a lawyer. It applies to some specific situations, three of which are highlighted below.
Many lawyers offer initial consultations, sometimes free, to those who want legal advice or representation. A lawyer will use the opportunity to analyze the case and determine whether they can and should help the client. This information is privileged.
The privilege also applies to lawyers acting in their professional capacity as lawyers. For example, if a lawyer is digging through your medical history to help them understand your personal injury case, the lawyer cannot disclose your medical issues to others because the information is privileged.
The attorney-client privilege also applies to disclosures you may make to your lawyer with the expectation that the information will remain confidential. For example, if you call your lawyer to solicit advice, the information you share is privileged.
Attorney-client privilege doesn't apply to all situations; there are circumstances under which your lawyer might reveal your 'privileged' information without breaking the law. Here are some of those situations:
You have the right to waive the privilege because it is designed to protect you and not the lawyer. Therefore, your lawyer can reveal your privileged information with your consent.
Your lawyer can reveal your communications if doing so would help to prevent a crime. For example, your lawyer is obligated to inform the authorities if you reveal your plans to rob a bank.
Injury or Death Prevention
In many jurisdictions, your lawyer can also revel your information to prevent an impending death, bodily injury, or financial injury.
Missing Person Location
If you reveal the location of a missing person during conversations with your lawyer, expect the lawyer to give the authorities that information. In this case, the greater good (locating the missing person) outweighs the benefits of keeping the information privileged.
As you can see, you have nothing much to worry about; your secrets are virtually safe with your lawyer. For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Johnson/Turner Legal.