Attorney – Client Confidentiality in Houston TX
It is fairly well-known that most everything one tells one’s retained attorney is confidential. In general this means that whatever you tell your attorney will remain secret unless you permit otherwise. It is very important to understand attorney-client confidentiality because it is often not possible for a criminal defense attorney to provide the best defense possible unless the lawyer knows all of the factors surrounding the case. In this post we will discuss attorney-client privileged confidentiality in a little more detail as well as discuss a few instances in which an attorney-client’s communications are no confidential.
Attorney-client confidentiality means that a defense lawyer cannot disclose oral or written communications between client and attorney to anyone without the client’s consent: this includes prosecutors, family, friends, employers, etc. This holds independently of whether the client has confessed to guilt or maintain innocence. Significantly — the attorney-client privileged relationship exists whether the retained attorney is a private lawyer or court-appointed attorney.
Losing Attorney-Client Confidentiality
There are some instances where one may lose the attorney-client privileged communication relationship. One such instance is communication made in a public setting, e.g. at a restaurant. This can also apply when discussing a case over the cell phone where the public may hear. In general, you should only discuss your case with your attorney in a private setting to ensure attorney-client confidentiality.
Attorney-client conversations in jail are considered confidential if they are made in a private area and the conversation is not loud enough for guards, inmates, etc. to hear. Even discussions over a phone, e.g. through the glass, are not completely safe and best avoided — if anyone claims to have heard the conversation attorney privilege can be lost. As well it is often the case that one is notified that such conversations may be monitored, which is enough to threaten attorney confidentiality. As a rule of thumb, only discuss your case with your lawyer in a private area.
It goes almost without saying that if a defendant invites others to listen to the conversation or explicitly shares details with others besides one’s attorney that one loses the right to confidentiality. Only discuss your case with your retained attorney or his / her legal team.
Finally, attorney-client confidentiality may not hold in situations where there is an overriding public responsibility. While what counts as the public responsibility varies from state to state, any communications that could result in prevent a further crime, result in financial injury, bodily harm, or the death of someone is not protected under attorney-client confidential.
Carl Haggard of The Haggard Law Firm takes client confidentiality with the utmost seriousness. It’s important to understand that we do not judge — our job is to provide the best legal defense possible in your case. If you are charged with a crime in Houston, TX, Harris County, or surrounding areas, call (832) 328-0600 or email Carl Haggard today for a free confidential consultation regarding your case. Carl has over 30 years of experience defending the accused in Houston and is an Ex-Chief District Prosecutor so he knows how to fight for you.