For most people, the thought that they might one day find themselves behind bars because of an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) is preposterous, but it happens every day to people just like you. When it does happen, your best course of action is to acquire legal representation as soon as possible and to be as open with your attorney as you can be about the events that got you into trouble with the law. You may, once you are out of jail and speaking to your attorney, wonder just how honest you should really be. To learn more about the issue of attorney-client privilege, read on.
What is the point of attorney-client privilege?
The criminal justice system recognizes that a person accused of a crime has the right to a comprehensive legal defense and that that right to a defense is only possible if the attorney is protected from prosecution. It also affords those accused with the ability to be fearless in their honestly with their attorney, knowing that nearly everything they say to their attorney cannot be acted upon by that attorney.
What does attorney-client privilege mean to your case?
Everything you say to your attorney, from the time of your initial phone call until you die, is considered privileged information. Your attorney cannot be compelled to reveal that information, no matter what. Whether you communicate by phone, in person, by email, fax, text or sign language, it's all protected. You do not need to be under contract with that attorney or pay a dime for the representation to be protected. It never expires.
Exceptions to the privilege to know about.
As always, there are some exceptions to this rule and it's extremely important that you understand situations where communications are not protected when it comes to your DUI case. If you are unsure, be sure to ask your attorney about it before you open your mouth and make a big mistake.
1. The presence of a third party. If there is an opportunity to be overheard in your communications, it won't be considered privileged so beware of close and crowded situations.
2. No intent. If you speak in a casual manner with an attorney, but with no intention of seeking legal help, it is not privileged.
3. Future acts communication. If you make mention of your intention to perform a future bad act (a crime), you are not protected. For example, if you tell your attorney you are looking forward to being able to take a few drinks and get behind the wheel, it is not covered.
Be sure to speak to your criminal defense attorney for more information about the client-attorney privilege. To learn more, contact a law firm like Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham, LLC.