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Is a drug/ alcohol evaluation that was not ordered by the court considered privileged information between my attorney and I?

Vancouver, WA |

I believe my attorney shared my eval with the prosecutor along with his opinions about me to, "brown nose", as he put it; However at my expense, as he thought I would plea guilty. He has now with drawn from the case. Were my client rights violated?

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Attorney answers 2


Perhaps. An attorney generally has an ethical/professional duty to keep information gathered by an attorney in the course of representation confidential unless disclosure is impliedly authorized in or to carry out the representation. The question here seems to be whether the sharing of your evaluation with the prosecution was appropriate in order to represent you. Its a difficult question, and there are attorneys who specialize in professional misconduct or malpractice. You probably should consult one.


The other attorney's answer is completely correct. I would point out that most attorney who work with DUIs do use evaluations to negotiate a case, and that negotiation is partially why an attorney is retained in the first place. If you had communicated that you were going to go to trial and fight the charges, no deals, etc., no matter what...that disclosure would probably not be authorized. But if your attorney explained or you requested that he would try to negotiate for you, that showing of the eval was probably implicitly authorized.

I don't know if this sets your mind any more at ease but our evidence rule 410 does bar any party from using evidence associated with negotiations in subsequent legal actions. So if it's any comfort, those disclosures cannot be used against you at trial or down the road.

Good luck.

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