Skip to main content

Would My Not Answering RFAs in a Civil Lawsuit Be Able To Be Used As A Party Admission In a Criminal Prosecution Against Me?

Los Angeles, CA |

I'm a defendant in a civil lawsuit, but cannot afford to continue litigating & will soon default. I can no longer pay my attorney, so he's not advising me anymore.

My attorney is still my attorney of record, & he recently forwarded me RFAs from the opposing counsel, & said that my not answering the RFAs will have the effect of admitting they're all true. Since I will soon default, I won't respond any further to the lawsuit, including not answering the RFAs.

Some of the RFAs ask me to admit whether I committed serious criminal acts. Will my failure to answer have the effect of an admission ONLY FOR THIS CIVIL LAWSUIT, or would my refusal to answer have the effect of an admission for a potential future criminal case, i.e. if a D.A. tried to use these RFAs as party admissions against me?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Not answering would give the opposing party the right to seek an order from the civil court to deem the answers as 'admitted.' It is possible that being deemed admit might constitute an admission against interest in a criminal matter. If you are concerned about the possibility, you might simply answer those questions by objecting and asserting your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. As to the other RFAs not having to do with potential criminal acts, leaving them unanswered would be your choice so long as you understand the effect on the civil case.

    At the very least, you should ask your current attorney to assist you in this issue alone. Since he remains your attorney of record, he can not abandon you and leave you in a position of risk. He will remain your attorney until you either (1) sign a substitution of attorney naming you as your own attorney (in propria persona); or, (2) he makes a motion to relieved as your counsel and the court grants the motion.

    Good Luck

    The information given is generic and does not constitute legal advice, which would only be given after a consultation and complete review of the specific facts of your case.


  2. I agree. Your attorney in your civil case cannot just stop working on your case if he is still your attorney of record. He cannot damage your case, which not responding to the Requests for Admissions could very well do. Either insist he perform this work for you or answer assuggested above to protect yourself in a potential criminal case.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.

Lawsuits and disputes topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics