Lets pretend I broke a law and even committed a felony and I had been shopping around for attorneys. I visited 4 attorneys before I finally settled on the right one. That means that up to 5 attorneys know of my situation and potential crime. My question is: What is stopping the police from tracking who I am talking to and simply subpoenaing the attorneys I have spoke to for more information? Also, what is stopping the police from searching my email or phone records to see what my attorney and I are discussing? I understand an attorney and be compelled to waive their attorney/client privilege under a grand jury. If that is the case, what is the point of the privilege in the first place? Why not just have a detective stand in on my meetings with my attorney?
General Practice Lawyer
The attorney/client privilege protects your hypothetical situation for each attorney. The attorney/client privilege extends to propsective clients as well as clients and former clients.
To further add to this hypothetical, say the government siezed your computer and found out that you made this posting on the internet. With this act, the government tries to use this fact against you in a court of law. Getting this suppressed is more challenging because it was done with others present in the conversation.
In your hypothetical situation, you were alone with the attorney, so nobody was listening in on the conversation. The attorney/client privilege will stand.
If the police want emails and phone records, the police can get a warrant. But, the communications with attorneys are not admissible because of the attorney/client privilege. Clients should never disclose damaging information to an attorney via email or over the phone.
I do not disagree with you couching your question as a hypothetical on a public posting site in an era where computers are seized and searched by computer experts looking for tidbits of evidence.
Disclaimer: This posting is made available for general informational purposes only. There is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney author. This posting is not a substitute for competent legal advice. Only a licensed attorney that specializes in this area in your home state and with whom you have an attorney client relationship can provide legal advice to you. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and any advice depends on the particular factual circumstances of your case. The information and materials provided are general in nature.
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Avvo is not a hypothetical question chat site. There are dozens of other sites for that purpose.
FWIW, attorney client privililege prevents attorney disclosures of what you talk about.
You are incorrect about attorney client privilege and GJ's.
READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I am providing educational instruction only--not legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.
Criminal Defense Attorney
You are just wrong about this. In Oregon, all people have the right to confidential communications with their lawyer. The police would almost certainly be breaking the law by secretly listening in on a client's conversations with a lawyer. And even if the police did this, the information they overheard could not be used as evidence against the client in court.
Additionally, the government would have no luck in sending subpoenas to the attorneys you consult with, because those consultations are still protected by attorney-client confidentiality.
Finally, the attorney-client confidentiality privilege applies even if a grand jury is involved.
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