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Should I Tell My Lawyer the Whole Truth?

Working With A Lawyer in Texas

When a person is charged with a criminal offense in the state of Texas, they may hire a lawyer or work with a court appointed attorney. In all legal cases, hiring a lawyer can be very advantageous. A lawyer may be able to provide advice and insight into creating a strong legal defense to use in court. A defendant usually believes that if they tell their lawyer the truth, then they are in good hands. But is this always the case?

Many people may wonder how honest they should be with their attorneys. For instance, they may worry that if they tell their attorneys the whole story, their legal defense may suffer. This is an important issue that requires serious consideration.

What Should I Tell My Lawyer?

In most cases, a lawyer will ask his or her client to explain the facts of their case to the best of their knowledge. They will often spend a great deal of time going over the case with their client in order to establish a good picture of the events.

There are very good reasons for this strategy. A lawyer usually wants to get the whole story so that they don’t come across any unknown or unexpected information in court. After all, a lawyer who bases a defense on a certain version of events can see their case suffer if new information comes to light during the trial that contradicts their claims.

This is why, in most cases, a lawyer will ask their client to be completely honest with them regarding the case at hand.

This is true even if the client admits to guilt. Just because a client is “guilty” of a particular offense does not mean that they are guilty of the charges that they are facing. It is the prosecution’s responsibility to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The defendant is guilty of the charges that they are facing
  • The defendant committed a crime according to the state’s version of events
  • The defendant committed a crime knowingly or intentionally

Just because a person committed a certain crime does not mean that the prosecution’s version of events is accurate. The defendant’s attorney can argue a successful offense in court even if their client committed the crime for which they are accused. For example, they can argue that their client committed this crime unintentionally or without criminal intent. This can lead to reduced charges or a plea deal.

Ethical Issues

Although an attorney is supposed to defend his or her client, there are certain cases when they cannot cooperate with all of their client’s actions. Lawyers are legally bound to certain ethical expectations that they must not violate.

For example, if a client tells his or her lawyer certain facts and then lies about those facts under oath, a lawyer is bound to report this behavior. This is because a lawyer is ethically prevented from allowing their defendant to commit perjury under oath.

This is an important distinction. A lawyer is not allowed to present false information or allow a defendant to commit perjury but they can present facts that bolster up their version of events.

For example, if a person tells their lawyer that they assaulted their neighbor, the lawyer cannot claim that someone else committed the assault. However, they may claim that the assault was provoked in an attempt to show that their client did not have criminal intent or a desire to cause harm. In this way, they may be able to show that their client does not deserve a sentence based on the original charges and that their client should get a plea deal.


Have you been charged with a crime? Hire an experienced lawyer you can trust. Contact Matthew Sharp today at (713) 868-6100.

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