Lawyer/Client Relationships: Is a Little White Lie OK?
Should you lie to your lawyer? You probably know the answer, but let’s be honest; it’s just human nature to make things appear better than they really are. There are many reasons for being honest with your defense attorney, but good old self-preservation should be at the top of your list.
Full Disclosure with Your Lawyer
It’s important to remember that the prosecution isn’t on your side. Experienced investigators make a good living by uncovering evidence to use against you in court. When the prosecution knows more about your past than your own defense lawyer, that’s a poor recipe for success. Here are several good reasons for sharing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth with your legal defense counsel:
- Trust is the indispensable foundation of any successful relationship. The relationship between a defendant and a defense lawyer is no exception. If your lawyer gets burned because you were less than honest, the trust is broken and the relationship is permanently damaged. You need a motivated attorney on your side.
- Most cases are won or lost based on which side the jury believes most. It’s essential that your defense attorney has an opportunity to build all the evidence, even the bad stuff, into an effective defense strategy. It’s hard to keep anything a secret these days. It’s not in your best interest for the jury or your lawyer to be surprised by the prosecution along the way.
- Your defense lawyer can’t create a case out of thin air. Even an experienced lawyer needs something to work with, and the truth is a good place to start. A truthful defendant is an invaluable member of an effective legal defense team.
- Even minor blemishes on an otherwise sound defense strategy can tip the scales of justice against a defendant. Give your defense counsel every opportunity to recast the evidence against you in the best possible light.
- Juries have feelings too. Jury members are more likely to pull for a defendant that is willing to expose their warts in court. Juries tend to become suspicious when a defendant cleans up a little too much.
- Going to trial is stressful enough. Trying to be someone other than who you really are will only add to the burden. Be yourself so that your attorney and the jury can get to know you.
- The truth usually comes out during the discovery or trial phases of a legal case. Don’t try to beat the system.
Lying Is a Bad Idea
Your defense lawyer has heard it all before. The responsibility of a good lawyer is to represent your legal interests, not to judge you. No lawyer wants to lose a case. They attract clientele by winning cases. When you lie, you’re sure to place your defense lawyer at a significant disadvantage. That’s always a bad idea.