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Maryland Client Advocates Since 1950

Do you understand the limits of the attorney-client privilege?

An attorney-client privilege is one of the most confidential yet important professional relationships you can ever establish. To receive effective legal representation, it is important that your lawyer understands exactly what happened. And this means that your communication with them is as honest and transparent as possible. 

However, whereas the communication you have with your attorney is protected by the attorney-client privilege doctrine, it helps to understand that there are certain limitations. 

Explaining attorney-client privilege

Attorney-client privilege is the doctrine that preserves the confidentiality of any private communication between you and your attorney that pertains to your case. 

The underlying principle of the attorney-client privilege doctrine has to do with you being able to disclose sensitive information to your attorney with the understanding that they will not turn around and disclose such confessions to the public or the court. This sounds fairly straightforward. However, there are limits to the attorney-client privilege that you should never overlook. 

Limits to attorney-client privilege

There is no attorney-client privilege under the following set of circumstances:

  • You may not seek your attorney’s assistance or counsel in planning or perpetrating a crime. If you do, then any related disclosures or confessions will not be protected by the attorney-client privilege doctrine. (You are, however, free to discuss past crimes in detail.)
  • When communication is made in the presence of other people aside from your attorney or shared with them, then such communication may not be privileged. For example, if you ask your best friend to pass information about your case to your attorney for you, you can’t claim that information is privileged.

Protecting your interests

Your attorney has a duty to handle any information you bring to their attention with the seriousness it deserves. If their actions amount to a violation of your attorney-client privilege, you deserve justice.