Law Office of Michael L. Fell
900 Roosevelt Irvine, CA 92620
(949) 585-9055

Should You Bring a Third-Party to Your Legal Consultation? Doing So Could Affect Your Attorney Client Privilege

Being accused of a crime is a challenging position to deal with. Many people who have been accused of a crime want a friend or relative with them when they meet with their attorney, but this might have unforeseen repercussions. Continue reading to discover more about them, and then call Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.

Third parties may be compelled to provide conversation content

Attorney-client privilege protects you when you talk with your lawyer, ensuring that your lawyer cannot be forced to divulge sensitive information. If you allow a third person to sit in on your attorney's discussion, that third party will very certainly be forced to reveal what they heard. There are, however, exceptions.

The one and only exception

There is one exception to this rule: if the individual is present to assist with the investigation. This implies that the information will be privileged if the third person is present to complete a job, such as being a member of the lawyer's staff, or an outside party with competence, such as an investigator, or even an adviser working in an advising position.

When deciding whether attorney-client privilege applies to a conversation with a third party, a court will assess whether the defendant intended for the communication to remain confidential and what the third party's role was.

It's usually best if a relative or friend isn't there

Many defendants believe that if they discuss their case with their attorney with a loved one, their loved one will never be asked about it. True, the prosecution is unlikely to learn, but if they do, the consequences might be severe.

Consider the following two scenarios, the first of which took place in Arizona. When he talked with the attorney, a man facing criminal accusations had his parents with him. They provided advice and counsel, as well as funding for the attorney. Attorney-client privilege protected communications with the attorney in the presence of the defendant's parents, according to the judge.

Consider a case from Missouri in which a defendant brought their daughter to her attorney's conference. The daughter was not required to provide information to the attorney and was not involved in providing assistance, according to the judge. The attorney-client privilege was not upheld as a result.

Your criminal defense lawyer can ensure that privilege is always upheld

The good news is that a competent criminal defense attorney will recognize when privilege applies and when it does not. We would tell a client at the Law Office of Michael L. Fell that having another individual there might jeopardize their attorney-client privilege. Call Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 right now for a free legal consultation.