If a defendant is guilty, is it better to tell his defense lawyer that he is not guilty or should he tell his lawyer the truth?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Paterson, NJ

If a defendant is guilty but does not want the prosecution to know that, is it better to tell his defense lawyer that he is not guilty or should he be straightforward and tell his defense lawyer the truth? The goal is to be acquitted.

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Yolanda Navarrete

    Contributor Level 20

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . What you tell your attorney about your past actions are confidential. When a client tells me the truth, it helps me prepare for the best defense possible. It makes me aware of what the state may have.

    Please be advised my answers to questions does not constitute legal advise and you should not rely on it, due to... more
  2. Mark M Cheser

    Contributor Level 20

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . "Guilty or not guilty" are legal terms and mean whether or not the State can prove a case against a person. You can be found guilty even if you did nothing and can be found not guilty even if you did. It does not mean whether you did it or not. You should follow your attorney's lead as to what to reveal. Answer your attorney’s questions truthfully. Do not hide information if your attorney asks. Do not volunteer information if it is not requested. There may be a reason the attorney does not want to know. That said it is usually best for an attorney to know as much as possible to properly prepare a case. But follow your attorney's lead.

  3. Joseph J Rodgers

    Contributor Level 10

    9

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . You should let your criminal defense attorney guide the interiew process. He or she will ask you what happened after you have thoroughly reviewed the case. Your lawyer should always take the position that you are not guilty until the time comes that a different approach in is your best interest.

  4. James Alexander Abate

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Whatever is said to your attorney is confidential.

    Law Offices of James A. Abate Jabatelaw.com (732) 412-2364
  5. Patrick Owen Earl

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    9

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . The plea you give the court at the start of any criminal case is not guilty. WHY? Because you as a defendant have RIGHTS? You must take the opportunity to talk with an attorney and see what the State has against you and if their case is strong or weak. Your attorney needs to know the good and the bad so that there is no surprises. Good luck

  6. Charles K. Kenyon Jr.

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . I expect the truth from my clients. I have helped many people who have told be they were guilty. Sometimes they are mistaken. Other times it cannot be proven with valid evidence.

    If I have a mistaken view of what the proof will be or is likely to be, I am likely to develop a flawed strategy for both trial and negotiation. I seldom have clients testify because I want the case to be about the lack of evidence against them, not about how they look on the stand.



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