The attorney-client privilege, and the confidentiality it confers in Muskogee, is sacrosanct — or just about. The privilege is important to effective legal representation, and the privilege guarantees that communications between a client and an attorney are confidential.
A confidential communication is not discoverable by a party or that party’s attorney, or by anther else for that matter. Think of it as a secret.
That means that what you tell your attorney cannot be repeated by your attorney. This encourages a client to be honest with an attorney, and that honesty can help an attorney be more effective in aiding that client. In the context of a divorce, a client may tell an attorney any one of a number of things — such as whether the client has had an affair, the number of times the client has been gambling in the past year, how many alcoholic drinks the client has per week — or anything else that might be relevant to the issues at hand.
But there are limitations to this confidentiality, and it is important that you understand these limitations.
When Does Confidentiality Adhere?
There is no confidentiality unless and until it is clear that the client is being represented by the attorney. Both the attorney and the client agree to the representation. This can be orally or by signing an attorney-client agreement.
Limitations on Confidentiality
Not every disclosure is confidential. Oklahoma outlines the attorney-client privilege in its Evidence Code.
In order for the communication to be confidential, it must be not intended to be disclosed to people other than the attorney. Okla. Stat. tit. 12 § 2502
When the communication takes place in the privacy of an attorney’s office, it is clear that the intent is that the attorney keep the statement secret. But what about when the disclosure is made in a coffee shop where other people can overhear the conversation? This situation is less clear, and the communication may not be held to be confidential. Always ensure that communications with your attorney take place where they cannot be overheard.
In addition, the privilege does not attach if the communication is made regarding a serious future crime. In that case, your attorney may be obligated to disclose that communication to prevent the crime.
There are also some other legal situations in which the privilege does not attach, such as:
- A communication relevant to an issue between parties who claim the privilege through the same deceased client;
- A communication relevant to an issue of breach of duty by either the attorney or the client toward each other;
- A communication necessary for an attorney to defend an accusation that the attorney aided the client in either criminal or fraudulent conduct;
- A communication relevant to an issue concerning a document that the attorney signed as an attesting witness;
- An attorney communication relevant to a matter of common interest among two or more clients if the attorney retained or consulted in common; or
- A communication between a public officer or agency and its attorney, unless the communication concerns a pending investigation or action, and the court determines that disclosure will seriously impair the investigation or action. Okla. Stat. tit. 12 § 2502
These situations are rare. Attorneys work hard to ensure that the statements a client makes remain confidential. And although it rarely occurs, there are some situations in which a court may order an attorney to disclose otherwise confidential information. For the most part, secrets told to an attorney remain secret.
If you have questions regarding the limits of confidentiality and how they might be relevant to your case, bring them to your Muskogee divorce attorney. Get the help you need today.
Confidential Conversation: Muskogee Divorce Attorney
If you’re considering all of your options at the moment and need to know the limits of confidentiality, call an experienced Muskogee divorce attorney today at (918) 913-0725, or toll-free at (888) 447-7262 (Wirth Law).
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