You were out with friends, and they decided that they wanted to cause some trouble. You tagged along, but you didn’t want to be part of the crimes they were committing. Despite your reluctance, you ended up being present when the police arrived.
Now, you’ve been arrested, but you want to defend yourself. You don’t think you should be penalized, since you did nothing wrong other than being present.
Your criminal defense attorney’s job is to protect you
It is your criminal defense attorney’s job to protect you against unfair treatment in court. They will also do their best to understand the situation and find ways to have the charges reduced or dropped completely. Since there is a chance that you will have to appear in court, your attorney will also take time to talk to you about what you should or should not say or do in court.
What do you need to do when you meet with your criminal defense attorney?
The first thing you’ll want to understand is that the truth is necessary for a strong defense. You can tell your attorney anything (in most circumstances) about what happened, and they will be bound by attorney-client privilege. There are few instances where attorneys can report something their clients say, but only if there is a risk to themselves or to others’ health (imminent harm) if the attorney does not act. There are also other exceptions to the attorney-client privilege such as:
- Waiving the right to the attorney-client privilege
- Seeking non-legal advice
- Waiving the right by having a third-party present at the time of disclosing information (translators and other exceptions for secondary clients involved in the case are made)
- Failure to object to privileged information being leaked to the court
- Crime-fraud, where the attorney and client discuss ways to commit fraud or other crimes
So long as you are honest about what happened while keeping these risks to attorney-client privilege in mind, you will be able to have what you say protected. With honesty, your attorney will be able to give you the best explanation about what to expect and offer the best protection against the prosecution.
After you discuss your case with your attorney, they’ll begin working on plea deals and negotiations. Most cases settle outside court. Listen to your attorney and be reasonable. They will be able to explain what you should expect and how to protect your future and reputation best.