Being charged with a crime can be an incredibly stressful event. One thing that people often do in order to relieve stress is to talk about their problems with other people. However, when you have a criminal case pending, that’s a bad idea. When you share facts about your case with family members and friends, you can turn them into witnesses. The things that you say to them can be twisted, and made to sound incriminating, even if the person is on your side. You don’t want to put your family member or friend in a position of being made a witness against you at a trial. So, who can you talk to about your criminal case?
- Your Lawyer.
The one person in the world who you should be talking about every detail of your case with is your lawyer. With your attorney, you enjoy the attorney-client privilege. Anything you say to your lawyer cannot be revealed, and your lawyer cannot be forced to testify against you. The attorney-client privilege is a sacred privilege, and your lawyer will certainly take it very seriously.
There are very few exceptions to the attorney-client privilege. For example, telling a lawyer about your intent to commit a crime in the future is not subject to privilege. If you tell your lawyer that you intend to go kill John Doe, your lawyer can reveal that information in order to save John Doe. However, if you tell your lawyer that you killed John Doe in the past, that information cannot be revealed and is subject to the attorney-client privilege. Also, if you use your attorney’s services in order to commit a fraud of some kind, the attorney-client privilege won’t apply.
Those are rare exceptions, however, and when you have hired a criminal defense lawyer, like a criminal defense lawyer Grand Rapids, MI residents need, to defend you, they are unlikely to arise. You should feel entirely safe in sharing information with your attorney. The more information you are able to share with your attorney, the better they will be able to defend you.
- Your therapist, with some exceptions.
In most instances, you can share information about your criminal case with a therapist and the information will be kept confidential. The major exception is in a situation where you have committed a crime involving a child. If this is the case, in most states, therapists are what is known as “mandatory reporters,” and are required by law to report any information they have about a crime being committed against a child. If your case involves accusations of harm toward a child, you should not discuss the case with a therapist, even if you are innocent of the charges.
- Your spouse, also with exceptions.
In most states, there is a spousal privilege, meaning that a spouse cannot be forced to testify against the other spouse. However, there are two caveats. First, many states permit a spouse to be forced to testify against the other spouse when the allegations involve a crime against a child. Second, in many states, the spousal privilege is held by the testifying spouse. That means, if your spouse is called to testify against you, it is your spouse’s choice about whether or not to testify. You can’t prevent your spouse from testifying against you using the privilege. This means that when you discuss your case with your spouse, you ought to be 100% certain that you can trust him or her.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Blanchard Law for their insight into criminal defense.