If you’re like most people, you know that confessing to a crime can be devastating – the state of Illinois will lock you up and throw away the key. But what about when it comes to your attorney? Most people wonder, “Can I tell my lawyer the truth?”
Here’s what you need to know.
Can I Tell My Lawyer the Truth?
You can, and absolutely should, tell your lawyer the truth. Your lawyer isn’t going to “snitch” on you or turn you in – or even put less effort into defending you in court, even if you committed crimes that would put you away for life.
Your attorney is completely committed to ensuring that you get the best possible outcome, and here’s the bottom line: It’s not up to an attorney to judge you. It’s up to the court system, and it’s your lawyer’s job to ensure that he or she protects your constitutional rights, fight for you, and show that the prosecutor doesn’t have enough evidence to prove that you did something wrong.
Your attorney’s opinion of the facts doesn’t even matter. What criminal defense attorney would be able to stay in business if he or she said, “Well, this guy’s guilty – I don’t really care if he gets acquitted” or “I don’t like that this woman committed this crime, so I’m going to tell the judge what really happened”?
Your lawyer’s main job is simple: He or she is your advocate and is there to make sure you get a fair trial. Your lawyer’s most pressing concern is whether the prosecutor has enough evidence to show that you did, in fact commit a crime.
How Much Should You Tell Your Attorney?
You should give your attorney truthful answers to every question he or she asks. In many cases, lawyers want to hear it all, no matter what, because an attorney can’t defend what he or she doesn’t know about. However, sometimes a lawyer will only want to hear specific facts about a case – that way, he or she won’t be limited in your defense. Your lawyer will let you know from the beginning whether you should lay everything on the table or only answer specific questions.
The communication between you and your attorney is confidential. Your lawyer cannot share it with anyone (including their own family members) without your consent. It doesn’t matter if you’re innocent or guilty – your lawyer can’t tell anyone what you’ve told him or her.
That goes out the window when you bring someone else into the picture, though. If you talk about your case with your attorney in a public place (such as in front of a police officer at the jail, or in a café, or outside the courthouse, and someone else overhears you, the person who overheard you could be called to testify.
You can, however, speak to your attorney in confidence while you’re in jail. The police aren’t allowed to listen in when you’re speaking with your attorney.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney?
If you’ve been accused of a crime, we may be able to help you – and don’t worry: It’s completely confidential. Call us at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below to schedule your free, private consultation with an experienced and skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney now.