Being accused of a crime is a difficult situation to go through. It is understandable that many who are accused want to have a friend or relative present when they meet their attorney but this can have unintended consequences. Read on to learn more about them and then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 if you are in need of a free legal consultation from a criminal defense attorney.
Third Parties Can Be Forced to Reveal Contents of the Conversation
When you speak to your attorney, you are protected by attorney-client privilege that assures your attorney cannot be required to reveal confidential information. However, if you allow a third party to sit in on the meeting with your attorney, then that third-party can likely be compelled to disclose what they heard. However, there are exceptions.
The Main Exception
There is one main exception to this rule: If the person is there to aid the case. This means that if the third person is there to fulfill a role, such as being a member of the lawyer’s staff, or an outside party that has expertise such as an investigator, or even an advisor that is acting in an advisory role, then the information will be privileged.
When a judge is considering whether or not attorney-client privilege applies to a particular conversation involving a third person, they will consider if the defendant intended the communication to remain privileged, and what the role of the third party was.
It is Generally Best Not to Have a Relative or Friend Present
Many defendants assume that if they are talking with their attorney with a loved one, that their loved one would never be asked to talk about that meeting. It is true that the prosecution is likely to never find out, but if they do the results could be disastrous.
Consider two examples, the first of which occurred in Arizona. A man who was facing criminal charges had his parents with him when he spoke to the attorney. They offered advice and guidance and paid for the attorney. A judge found that conversations with the attorney in the presence of the defendant’s parents were still protected by attorney-client privilege.
Then consider a Missouri case in which a defendant brought their daughter to her meeting with her attorney. The judge found that the daughter was not necessary in conveying information to the attorney and was not involved no offering guidance. As a result, the attorney-client privilege was not upheld.
Your Criminal Defense Attorney Can Assure Privilege is Always Established
The good news is that if you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney, they will know when privilege does and does not apply. At Law Office of Michael L. Fell we would warn a client that having another person present may affect their attorney-client privilege. If you are in need of a free legal consultation, contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 now.