What is attorney-client privilege?
There are certain classes of individuals with whom a client has the ability to have privileged communications with.
The State of Washington recognizes the classes of persons specified here as being subject to privileged communications – meaning the defendant can legally prohibit them from discussing what was said to others. The most important and common of these are:
- A spouse or domestic partner
- An attorney or counselor
- A parent or guardian of a minor
- A physician or surgeon
- …many others.
Among these classes, the attorney-client privileged communication is probably the most studied and observed. The Washington State Court’s Rules of Professional Conduct further outline those scenarios when an attorney may be required or has discretion to disregard attorney-client privilege.
I have a very conservative view of attorney-client privilege, meaning that my default is to observe the privilege even when other attorneys might not. I interpret attorney-client privilege to be rooted in the companion duty of loyalty to my clients. When problems occasionally develop in the attorney-client privileged relationship, I do my best to resolve them without getting other parties involved for this very reason. Maintaining your confidentiality and trust is important to me.
This sometimes means we need to have conversations outside the presence of friends and family, who otherwise could nullify the A/C protection by their presence.
Better Safe Than Sorry
The reason the Law Office of Chris Van Vechten offers free case evaluations is exactly because there isn’t a hard and fast rule about when someone should hire a criminal defense lawyer. One recommendation we can make to anyone who has been charged with a crime, or who believes they might be charged with a crime, is to contact us by phone or text for a free case evaluation to speak with us about your case. It is our job to give you the best possible recommendations and to work hard for you and fight for you to help you get through your situation and to make sure you receive justice.