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What Is Attorney-Client Privilege?

Sometimes people are wary of hiring a criminal defense attorney for their case because they are anxious about how much to discuss with their attorney. For some, there is an inherent fear that the attorney will “rat them out” to the prosecution or the judge.

However, understand that there are several legal protections that have been established to prevent this. This is the relationship that is established at the very beginning when the client decides to retain that attorney; this is called the attorney-client privilege.

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Essentially, a client does not need to provide full disclosure and can prevent others from gaining knowledge of the information that has been discussed by keeping the conversations confidential. The attorney is not allowed to go against this or break the agreement under any circumstances. This regulation was established so that the client will provide all of the necessary to information to the counsel freely, without the fear of the knowledge leaking or used to undermine him or her.

Are There Any Exceptions to Attorney-Client Privilege?

The attorney-client privilege protects a clients’ rights for most communications, including the client’s right to confidentiality and full disclosure. However, there is one main exception to this, and that is the crime-fraud exception. A judge will always use this exception when evaluating cases.

The crime-fraud exception dictates that the attorney-client privilege is void if the person involved used it intentionally to cover up a crime or an act of fraud. It might also be enforced if the client told the attorney that he or she intends to commit additional crimes or fraudulent acts.

These might extend to the following:

  • Witness tampering
  • Concealing assets or income
  • Destroying, withholding or covering up evidence
  • Asking your criminal defense lawyer to present false evidence

Rest assured that most of the time and regardless of the circumstances, an attorney will not attempt to turn you into authorities or undermine your case. It is not in a lawyer’s best interests to do so, and certainly is a violation of your rights if you have been accused of committing some form of wrongdoing. You would do well to hire a Chicago criminal defense lawyer to assist you. With more than 20 years of experience, our team at the Law Office of Steven Fine can provide you with results-oriented strategies.

For assistance with your case, please contact our firm to schedule a free appointment.