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How far does attorney-client privilege go?

Daytona Beach, FL |

I know that attorneys are supposed to keep client information confidential, even if they confess to crimes. But what if they threaten the country or say that they're going to kill somebody? Can the attorney say something to someone? And are they legally expected to?

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Attorney answers 4




(a) Consent Required to Reveal Information. A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to representation of a client except as stated in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d), unless the client gives informed consent.

(b) When Lawyer Must Reveal Information. A lawyer shall reveal such information to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:
(1) to prevent a client from committing a crime; or
(2) to prevent a death or substantial bodily harm to another.

(c) When Lawyer May Reveal Information. A lawyer may reveal such information to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:
(1) to serve the client's interest unless it is information the client specifically requires not to be disclosed;
(2) to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and client;
(3) to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved;
(4) to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer's representation of the client; or
(5) to comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

(d) Exhaustion of Appellate Remedies. When required by a tribunal to reveal such information, a lawyer may first exhaust all appellate remedies.

(e) Limitation on Amount of Disclosure. When disclosure is mandated or permitted, the lawyer shall disclose no more information than is required to meet the requirements or accomplish the purposes of this rule.

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ******


Statements about future crimes or not privileged.

I am a Florida attorney who practices in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, and civil rights. You can call me to arrange a free consultation about your case if it is in one of those three areas. My phone number is 407-463-3506. My answers on AVVO do not establish an attorney-client relationship. Your case must be evaluated in full in light of all all its complexities. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertising. Before you decide, ask the firm to send you free written information about the lawyer’s qualifications and experience.

Christopher Robert Dillingham II

Christopher Robert Dillingham II


I apologize: That should read "are not privileged." There is no protection and attorneys must report them. Please see Ms. Morcroft's post with the Rule 4-1's exact wording.


Threats of future crimes MUST be reported by the attorney to police.

The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not considered to be legal advice.


the privilege - in Tennessee does not extend to threats to commit future crimes. The lawyer would be expected to report it.

All answers to inquiries and suggestions have been prepared for general information purposes only and to permit you to learn more about our firm, our services and the experience of our attorneys. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice.

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