The Attorney-Client Privilege
The attorney-client privilege is a legal doctrine which protects private communications which take place between an attorney and his or her client and prevents the disclosure of these communications. This privilege is intended to maintain the integrity of the current legal system by allowing attorneys and clients to communicate openly and honestly without fear of having confidential information revealed to other individuals or organizations.
Provisions and Limitations
In the simplest terms, attorney-client privilege guarantees states that communications, whether verbal or written, between an attorney and his client are private. The confidentiality guaranteed by the attorney-client privilege is considered a fiduciary duty – the highest standard of obligation and care provided by the law.
However, attorney-client privilege is not as absolute as it has been made to appear in the popular media. Several exceptions to the attorney-client rule exist and have been upheld in court
- Attorney vs. client communications – In some states, the attorney-client doctrine is considered to protect only the client’s communications to his attorney, and not the attorney’s communications, except to the extent that they reveal the client’s communications
- Communication vs. information – The attorney-client privilege is tied to the act of communication, and not to the information communicated. Therefore, if a client reveals sensitive information to a third party, the third party is not bound by the privilege, even if the same information was also communicated to the attorney
- Intent to commit crime or tort – In the interest of preventing crime, the attorney-client privilege is automatically waived for any communications which are used to further the commission of a crime or tort, and an attorney is obligated to report such communications to law enforcement.
For more information on the attorney-client privilege, contact San Jose criminal lawyer with the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. at (408) 296-4100 today.