Why Your Lawyer Really Needs You to Tell the Truth
First, a disclaimer. We are not here as the moral police. There are clear reasons why your lawyer needs you to tell the truth. It may mean keeping quiet instead of speaking to the police. It surely is the best option in dealing with your own legal representation. Although the truth won’t necessarily “set you free,” the alternative could get messy.
Consider the situation Terry created. She was riding down the highway with her cell phone plastered to her ear. She suddenly saw lights and heard sirens behind her. Terry tossed her phone into the back seat of the car. She then pulled over to the side of the road with trepidation.
The police officer approached Terry’s vehicle and informed her that he noticed she was not using a hands-free device. For whatever reason, Terry decided to deny the claim. The officer was outraged. As he surveyed the interior of Terry’s car, he spotted a marijuana roach extinguished in the ashtray. You can guess the rest. Perhaps Terry could have avoided trouble if she fessed up to using the phone. Or, kept quiet. Lying worked against her.
Lack of Credibility is a Dilemma
Credibility is a big issue when it comes to any type of legal matter. We cannot reiterate the importance of truth. When it comes to criminal arrests, defendants are given Miranda warnings. It’s clearly smarter to keep quiet rather than attempt to talk your way out of a situation with lies.
We mentioned that it is also crucial to be honest with your own lawyer. Your attorney is bound by ethical concerns and is obligated to keep your confidence. The truth often comes out in the end, and it makes no sense to let your lawyer be broadsided. It makes for a more challenging representation.
Criminal law is not the only area where truth matters. Let’s say you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit. You hurt your back ten years ago and are afraid that the defendant’s insurance company will try to give you less money for your new accident. You are sure your secret is safe.
Only it isn’t. Insurance companies have access to a national claims database. If you decide to lie about preexisting conditions, you will have damaged your credibility. It isn’t the prior injury that will hurt you. It’s the fact that you claimed you had no previous medical issues.
Involved in a divorce and figure it’s best to lie about your assets? Once again, a dangerous path to consider. Like former business partners, most couples are looking for their share. If you are thinking you can hide what should be rightfully subject to equitable distribution, you may get in trouble. And, don’t believe that the case can’t be reopened even after the divorce is finalized. It can.
Tempted to lie when you are sworn under oath. Don’t chance it. When you certify to the truth, you should be providing it. This includes written interrogatories, depositions or court testimony. You don’t have to watch a lot of court television dramas to know there are penalties for perjury.
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have nearly three decades of providing legal services. Thinking a lie might help your case? Talk to us to learn how the truth can work in your favor. Contact us to schedule an appointment.