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What Is Attorney-Client Privilege?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Mar 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

The relationship between a client and his or her attorney is unique. Much like the relationship between a patient and his or her therapist, it is important that the client feels free to communicate candidly and frankly, without fearing a breach of confidentiality. That bridge of communication and trust makes it much easier for an attorney to give a client the help they need. To ensure that clients feel comfortable with their attorneys and that attorneys are fully prepared to defend their clients against charges, attorney-client privilege comes into play. So what is attorney-client privilege and how will it factor into your case? Let's find out . . .

What Is Attorney-Client Privilege?

What Is Attorney-Client Privilege?

Attorney-client privilege is an important American legal concept that protects certain communications between attorneys and their clients. This immunity is given to all suspects, including men and women in the military who are under investigation or facing a court-martial. The information a client discusses with his or her attorney is confidential, meaning it will under no circumstances be revealed to others without the client's consent. Communication protected by this privilege includes overt methods (such as talking and writing) as well as subtle movements (nodding, shaking your head, silence).

The privilege only applies when the relationship between the attorney and client is firmly established (through a contract, a formal agreement, the attorney appearing on behalf of the client, etc). If you aren't sure whether this privilege applies in your situation, discuss the status of your relationship with your lawyer before you begin revealing confidential facts and details about your case.

WHAT IT MEANS

The client is encouraged to discuss everything they know about their case and the charges that have been brought against them with their attorney. Using this information, their attorney is able to make a more detailed and persuasive argument in their favor and to prepare for the prosecution's potential arguments.

It is also in the client's best interest to refrain from discussing aspects of the case without their attorney's approval or presence. This includes revealing information to friends, family, doctors, and chain of command. Because of this, it is crucial that the client trusts their attorney and feels confident in their attorney's knowledge, experience, and professionalism.

 EXCEPTIONS

The attorney-client privilege is an important shield during the legal process, but there are exceptions. In some cases, a lawyer may have the option of revealing information given by a client. In other cases, a lawyer is legally obligated to act. Here are some examples:

  • Crime or Fraud. If the client seeks advice from their attorney to continue committing a crime or fraud, their communication is not privileged. However, if the crime or fraud is completed before the client seeks advice from their attorney, the communication is privileged.
  • Common Interest. If two parties are represented by the same attorney, neither can assert attorney-client privilege in future legal proceedings that involve the subject matter of the previous joint representation.

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To learn more about your rights as a suspect, consult an attorney. And if you're looking for a top-quality military lawyer, contact Newsom & Gapasin. Whether you're under investigation or facing a court-martial, our experienced and aggressive law firm would be happy to help. We focus on winning tough cases, some of which have been reported on by national media outlets like CNN, Fox News, Time, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. For more information, please give us a call at 1-(888) 919-8265 , send an e-mail to [email protected], or click here to contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

About the Author

Ernesto Gapasin

Attorney

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