The fundamental principle that allows clients to reach out to a legal professional and seek their advice without any repercussions of being incriminated or having their actions exposed to a third party. This hallmark constitutes the attorney-client relationship and is covered by the American Bar Association in Rule 1.6.
If this rule did not exist, clients could not reasonably be encouraged to be open or frank with their lawyers, which would be detrimental to both of them. On one hand, clients would receive sub-par representation from a lawyer who does not know all of the facts about a case and have their chances of a successful outcome severely reduced. On the other, attorneys would not be able to do their job to the best of their ability, resulting in clients who may be falsely convicted and unhappy with their counsel.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are a few exceptions to this rule of total confidentiality between an attorney and a client. The first exception is perhaps the most obvious—when a client grants an attorney permission to disclose information to a third party. Some less obvious times when an attorney may disclose information regarding their clients or a case include:
- When a fact or argument cannot be properly disputed
- To facilitate a satisfactory conclusion
- To discuss a case with other members of their own firm (unless the client has forbade it)
Lawyers may also choose to disclose information regarding their case in instances where it can prevent serious bodily harm or death to another individual. In this instance, because revealing this information may save the life of another individual, their well-being is placed in higher priority than the client’s confidentiality. In this same way, attorneys are also not only allowed but required to disclose information that may prevent a client or another party from committing a crime.
While confidentiality is important, it can occasionally be broken, however it is more often than not broken by the client rather than the attorney. The most common way this is done is by discussing important details of a case in a place where confidentiality and privacy cannot be reasonably expected. Therefore, it is important to keep all details of your case quiet while in a public place, such as a restaurant, park, or any other area where your conversations may be overheard. This also holds true for any phone calls that are monitored or recorded, as any details disclosed in these conversations can be admitted as evidence into a case legally, so long as you were aware that the call was being monitored.
Understandably, some people may choose to confide in a close friend while going through their case. However, if it is discovered that they know details about your case, they may be summoned as a witness and required to testify against you under oath. So while it may be difficult to keep the confidentiality quiet, it’s best to maintain security by keeping all third parties out of the case.
Attorney A. Oliver Hassibi of the Law Office of A. Oliver Hassibi has fought to protect those who have been criminally accused by the American justice system. He understands that in many cases those who need a criminal defense lawyer are good people who are caught in a bad situation and need assistance avoiding the penalties of the crime they are facing. Whether your case is small or large, trust your case to Attorney Hassibi and retain the representation of a skilled Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer who will fight aggressively to protect you and your best interests.
Call the Law Office of A. Oliver Hassibi and request a free case evaluation today by dialing (817) 953-2663.