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Should You Tell Your New York Criminal Defense Lawyer the Truth? 2024

Should You Tell Your New York Criminal Defense Lawyer the Truth? 2024

If you are facing criminal charges in New York, it is advised to hire a New York criminal defense lawyer. A qualified criminal attorney can inform you of your rights, walk you through the details of your charges, and advise you on the optimal steps to take regarding defense.

When working with your criminal defense lawyer, it may not be clear to you whether or not you should share everything with them. You may feel hesitant to discuss specific details related to your charges, such as the individuals involved in the incident or the exact location. It’s crucial to understand the advantages and disadvantages of sharing everything with your lawyer so that you can make your own informed decisions when disclosing information.

Should You Tell Your New York Criminal Defense Lawyer the Truth?

Advantages of Sharing All Relevant Information

When speaking with your criminal defense lawyer, there are some key advantages to sharing all relevant information that you should keep in mind. When you share all of the details associated with your case, you are giving them more information to be able to build a strong defense for your case. For example, if you were not present at the scene of the crime, but you withhold this information from your lawyer, then they will not know that you have a strong alibi.

Your attorney has a different, more thorough understanding of the law and defense strategies than you likely have. Therefore, if you are withholding a piece of information that you would consider to be inconsequential, it might be something that could influence the outcome of your case.

The job of your attorney is, ultimately, to help you yield optimal outcomes for your case—not to pass judgments about you or your actions. Therefore, you should feel free to disclose the details of your case without feeling judged. Remember that providing your attorney with all of the relevant information for your case can help them preserve your rights and defend your interests.

Attorney-Client Privilege

It’s important to keep in mind that there is attorney-client privilege between you and your lawyer. This means that your attorney does not have permission to share any information that you disclose with them unless you explicitly give them permission to share. The only other case in which they are able to share your information is if your attorney has reasonable suspicion that you are going to commit a crime.

Disadvantages of Sharing All Relevant Information

There are some rare cases in which practicing criminal defense lawyers do not want to hear all of the information about a case. This can be due to the repercussions of knowing the truth for the lawyer. For example, if you swear under oath to tell the truth in court, you commit perjury, and your lawyer is aware of this, then this could lead to ethical issues.

Deciding What to Disclose With Your Defense Attorney

When you are deciding which information you would prefer to disclose with your criminal defense attorney, it’s important to consider the crime that you have been accused of and the role that you have played in it. Even if you are guilty, and you disclose this to your lawyer, this can be useful information so that they can help you pursue an optimal strategy for your situation, including:

  • Negotiation with the prosecution. Your lawyer could work toward an optimal plea deal for your case.
  • Getting your charges reduced. Even if you committed the crime that you are charged with, you may be able to get the charges of crime downgraded.
  • Argue that your rights were violated. Your lawyer can argue against any evidence that was seized illegally or evidence that was collected by breaching your rights.
  • Work toward a reduction of your sentence. Your attorney can present evidence to get your sentence reduced.

Overall, the most important consideration when deciding what to share with your criminal defense lawyer is that you feel comfortable around them. If you do not have confidence in your ability to share sensitive information with them, you may want to consult with another lawyer.


Q: Should I Reveal Everything to My Criminal Defense Lawyer?

A: A good strategy when deciding what to share with your criminal defense lawyer is to start by asking them the extent of what they believe is necessary to know. This can allow them to have sufficient information to mount a strong defense without having to cross moral or ethical boundaries in court.

Q: What Is the Difference Between Factual Guilt and Legal Guilt?

A: Factual guilt refers to the actual crime that a defendant may have carried out, while legal guilt is the extent of the guilt that the prosecutor can prove. An individual may be, for example, factually guilty of robbing a house, but if there is no legally obtained evidence to prove it, then they cannot be prosecuted and convicted.

Q: Why Would a Lawyer Defend Someone They Know Is Guilty?

A: All crimes are contextual and a byproduct of historical and sociocultural values. This means that what is considered to be criminal in one context or culture could be celebrated in the other. Therefore, in any criminal justice system, every person who is charged with committing a crime deserves fair representation and a right to trial. It’s important to remember the social and structural factors that are largely linked with criminality.

Q: What Is the Purpose of a Criminal Defense Attorney?

A: A criminal defense attorney’s responsibilities for helping administer justice include providing legal counsel to their client, as well as advocating on their behalf in and out of the courtroom. They are also responsible for making sure that the rights of their client are preserved and serving as a legal representative with integrity.

Compassionate and Thoughtful Criminal Defense Representation

If you are facing criminal defense charges, the legal team at the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, can represent you with integrity and rigor. Our legal team can answer your questions and concerns and fight to defend you in the courtroom. Reach out to one of our dedicated attorneys today to begin constructing your defense strategy.

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