Sometimes people forget details. Other times, people reinvent the details to create a more palatable version of the truth. Whether we fib about why our homework isn’t done, who ate the last brownie, or whether someone looks great in those jeans, we lie because it has benefits. In avoiding punishment or not hurting someone else’s feelings, we are able to construct a better version of ourselves. Telling the truth may come only when lying has more drawbacks in a situation than perks. Those drawbacks always outweigh potential perks when it comes to clients lying to their attorneys.
Lawyers are bound by the attorney-client privilege, which means they cannot voluntarily disclose or be compelled to share confidential communications that were made by clients seeking advice. It is completely counterproductive for a client to misrepresent the truth to his or her lawyer, because it makes it impossible for a lawyer to effectively represent and protect the client. Concealing or failing to disclose crucial information puts the lawyer at a disadvantage and makes the case harder to win. It’s usually pretty difficult to do a job without having the best information possible, and a lawyer’s job is no different.
Lying to your attorney defies common sense – if you share only what you think he or she needs to know, you are the person deciding which pieces of information are important. And you may not be the best judge of that since, after all, you are the one who needs the services of a legal professional. Learning new facts as the case progresses puts a heavy burden on your version of events and may cause your lawyer to doubt what else you have told him or her.
Withholding pertinent facts can also impact your attorney’s ability to assess what your case is worth and to effectively negotiate a resolution. Imagine that your version of events makes the other side seem responsible for $1 million. When they offer half that amount, your attorney will likely advise that you continue on with the case. If you have purposefully left out details that would reduce their liability to $500,000, then you have interfered with your attorney’s ability to secure a positive, informal result for you.
It is very likely that, sooner or later, the truth will be discovered over the course of a lawsuit. Any type of deception will cast your credibility into doubt and will be exploited to the fullest by the opposition. Furthermore, a client who is caught in a lie may be held in contempt of court and charged with perjury. A person convicted of perjury in Georgia faces a fine of up to $1,000, a sentence of one to ten years in prison, or both. Depending on the facts of the case, there may also be criminal risk on charges of fraud.
The truth always has a way of coming out. Though it may seem appealing to bend the truth in order to make yourself look or feel better, resist that temptation with your attorney, because you only hurt yourself in the end. If you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the attorneys at The Mann Law Firm. We have over 50 years of experience helping people and we can help you. Based in Macon, we proudly serve communities throughout Georgia. Contact us by calling (478) 742-3381 or by filling out our online form.