No matter what the reason you have an attorney, it’s crucial that you be honest with them…even if the truth doesn’t paint your actions in the best light. A surprising number of people fudge the truth with their attorneys. Unfortunately, while this might embarrass and frustrate the lawyer, the only person it truly punishes is the client.
There are two types of lies: lies of omission, where you conveniently “forget” to include some of the not-so-great facts, and lies in which you make up facts, deny your involvement or otherwise refuse to tell the truth. When it comes to your attorney-client relationship, you should avoid both kinds.
Why Do I Have to Tell the Whole Truth?
When you’re dealing with the legal system, you should operate under the assumption that the truth is going to come out eventually. Even if the whole truth paints you in an unflattering light, it’s important that your attorney get the full picture.
First, nothing ruins the attorney-client relationship faster than finding out a client has lied to their legal representation. A lawyer won’t be able to trust that the information you provide is accurate or complete, which will negatively affect your defense. In fact, they may even be allowed to “fire” you.
Second, it could negatively impact your case. Lawyers base their arguments on the facts and evidence presented. If you leave out or lie about important details, their strategy may not be as effective as it could be. What’s more, if the opposing party finds incriminating evidence against you, proving you lied, it could come out at the worst possible time—like trial. At that point, not only have you ruined your attorney-client relationship, but you’ve likely ruined the judge and jury’s impression of you. No one likes to feel taken advantage of, from the jury members to your own legal representation.
Finally, if you lie to your lawyer, you might be put in the position to commit perjury. That is a crime that can come with serious legal consequences.
Your Lawyer Is on Your Side
Remember, your lawyer is trying to help you—and they can’t do that if you lie to them. The only way to get the results you want is to be completely honest with your attorney. Lay it all on the table—the good, the bad and the ugly—and let them decide how best to help.
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