If you have been charged with a crime and you are guilty, you may wonder if this is something you should tell your attorney. You may have no intention of pleading guilty and you may be concerned about how well your attorney can represent you if you do admit guilt to them. This is a complicated question that many attorneys have differing opinions of. At a minimum it is very important for you to tell your attorney about your version of events, the reasoning behind your actions, and any support for your position. Your attorney needs to fully understand the entire picture of the incident to make fully informed and helpful decisions.
Attorney-Client Confidentiality Is Real
Anything and everything you tell your lawyer is completely confidential. They cannot share anything you say with anyone and most definitely cannot discuss your guilt or any actions you’ve taken with the DA, the Judge, or anyone else involved in the case (or anyone else, period.). Everything you share with your attorney is privileged and is not divulged, so you never need to worry that admitting guilt to your attorney will result in the DA learning that information.
A Well-Informed Attorney is a Prepared Attorney
To defend you to the best of their abilities, your lawyer has to know absolutely everything there is to know about your case. You should not hold any information back, even if it makes it clear you committed a crime. Just because your actions may match the elements of a crime does not mean you will be found guilty at trial. You may have an affirmative defense, there may be a lack of evidence, or there may be mitigation that can help resolve your case favorably. Your attorney needs as much detail as possible when preparing your case. They can create the most advantageous defense for you only if they know everything that actually happened. Finding out a fact at trial can destroy your attorney’s defense strategy.
Your Actions May Not Mean You Are Guilty
Even if you did whatever the DA alleges, it does not mean you are going to be found guilty of the actual crime being charged. The facts of your situation are one thing, and the detailed requirements of the law are another. Because of this, it is imperative that you share all of the information you have with your attorney so that they can assess your situation in light of what the law actually says. This will also help your attorney determine what evidence, witnesses, and issues need to be prepared for the trial.
While it might seem as though criminal trials are all about whether you did or did not commit the crime, they are actually not about that. Trials are about who can present the better case and convince the jury of their position. Being fully informed allows your attorney to be the best prepared to convince the jury of your position and also allows them to be prepared to counter any arguments or statements the DA may make about you or the case.
You do not have to be innocent for your attorney to present an argument that you are not guilty of the crime being charged. Everyone is entitled to a defense no matter the facts of their case. Your attorney can argue that you are not guilty even if they know you are.
Telling the Truth Leads to Better Plea Deals
In addition to building a solid defense to get a not guilty verdict, your attorney will simultaneously be talking with the DA’s office to try to get an advantageous plea deal for you to consider.
If your attorney does not have all the facts and you withhold information, they are at a disadvantage when speaking with the DA. They will not only be negotiating without all the facts but they will also be placed in a difficult position where the DA knows more than they do. This can make them look unprofessional, unprepared, and make it much harder for them to seek out a deal that will benefit you.
Caveats about Confessing to Your Attorney
Sharing the truth with your attorney will lead to a more detailed and robust defense in your case. However, there are some things you should be aware of when explaining your actions to your attorney. If you tell your attorney the truth, they cannot let you testify on your behalf at trial and perjure yourself (lie) on the stand. You should also be aware that your attorney cannot lie on your behalf as this violates the ethical standards required of attorneys.
Discussing all the facts of your case with honesty and truthfulness is absolutely necessary if your attorney is going to be able to negotiate a plea and/or present the best possible defense for you. Your attorney is your partner and works to get the optimum outcome for your case.
Complete frankness will benefit you and ensure you have the skilled defense you need in your matter. Burnham Law attorneys are committed to working closely with you to distill the facts of your case into a robust and beneficial one. Our years of experience in the Colorado criminal law field translate to proficient representation for your unique case. Call us now at 303-653-9497.