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FlutherAlot's avatar

Should you admit guilt to a lawyer?

Asked by FlutherAlot (145points) March 7th, 2010

This is hypothetical I have not done anything. I have heard it is always best to diclose everything to your lawyer.

Lets say I am accused of hit and run. I have made no incriminating statements to the police, and have quickly repainted the car. The prosecution has a weak case (I could always “lie” and say some wierdo just took my tag down and made up hit and run so he could get the insurance to pay his damage, etc.). Now if I actually tell my lawyer that I did it, woulden’t they advise me to plea no contest or something as opposed to lie (I know lawyers aren’t allowed to advocate lieing)? If I just tell my lawyer that the wierdo took my tag down it will be up to him to prove I hit him and ran. With no cameras it is now my word against his and an easy case for my lawyer.

In the above case I feel lieing to the lawyer would be the BEST option. Do you agree?

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30 Answers

Likeradar's avatar

I was under the impression that a lawyer will never ask if you’re guilty, and you should never tell.

Dominic's avatar

You should tell your lawyer everything, because the more they know, the more facts they have to work with. Lawyers have a right to keep nearly everything their client tells them completely confidential. You can safely tell them whether you’re guilty or not.

Lawyers aren’t allowed to let you commit perjury, though. If you insist on lying, the lawyer has an obligation to tell the judge.

Although in point of fact, most police departments will check with local body shops when there’s been a hit and run.

Everest's avatar

Lying. Its a great way to do the right thing.

FlutherAlot's avatar

@Dominic I do the work myself :)

See what you say is paradoxial. I know they won’t disclose what you say, but they won’t let you commit perjury though. In this case perjury is a pretty good defence (my word vs theirs).

It seems as if you admit guilt to them they will go from “profit maximizing” to “loss minimizing” mode. Plus the moral implecations (lawyer will subconciously work less hard for you).

@Likeradar hmm… probabally true. If the lawyer dosen’t ask, they do not know. If they do not know, they are not at risk for disbarment. So I guess a competent attoreny (who wants to make money AND keep his job) will not ask

What do you think OJ or Michael Jackson told their lawyers?

dpworkin's avatar

It depends upon the lawyer’s style. Some will ask you for the precise truth, some will just “help” you craft a story of innocence (not explicitly of course – that would be suborning of perjury) If you don’t hire a lawyer you trust you’re nuts, so I’d say do what your lawyer says to do.

john65pennington's avatar

Ever heard of forensic science? your coverup would be detected. tell your attorney or not, its up to you. i do not trust attorneys. i have arrested several. some are as bad or worse than the people they represent.

davidbetterman's avatar

Tell the lawyer everything. The last thing you want is for your lawyer to be surprised in court during your trial. Surprise witnesses are no fun. Your lawyer will not let you testify if he feels you will look like the liar you are. That is what the 5th amendment is all about.
If you were to repaint your car you would be guilty of another crime (obstructing justice). But your lawyer will help you beat that rap, too., It’s his/her job.

FlutherAlot's avatar


I never knew it was a crime to repaint my car (even though it was circumstantially after my alledged hit and run). You can’t prove anything. It is up to the prosecution to PROVE I hit and ran. My lawyer advocating my perjurous story will still win I would think.

Even better replace the bumper all together. I doubt the busy city with crimes worse than this happening every day will go through the trouble.

When my car was stolen they dusted a few prints then said “too bad”

@dpworkin Ohh I see

CyanoticWasp's avatar

In your hypothetical case, the police would do more than “dust for a few fingerprints and say ‘too bad’”. These cases are worked pretty hard when injury or death is involved.

So… the “weirdo” gave a false tag number? Doesn’t matter. If there was an eyewitness who identified your tag (rightly or wrongly) then the police will be knocking on your door. Whether or not you have repainted your car won’t matter. Unless you removed every bit of the original paint, they’ll find some of that paint and match it to the victim. (The fact that you chose a particular time immediately after you were implicated in a hit-and-run to repair and repaint your car would weigh against you. The mechanics involved would be investigated and called as witnesses for the prosecution.)

The eyewitness puts you at the scene of the crime during its commission. You’ll have to come up with better evidence to refute that. You could impugn his credibility, provide more (or more reliable) witnesses that put you somewhere else at that time, etc. But the more you try to “craft” a lie, the more places good investigators will trip you up… or the witnesses who attempt to lie to support your lies.

If your attorney knows that you have committed the crime, then he absolutely will not call you to the stand to testify, since that would be the subornation of perjury—a crime that he won’t abet since it risks his livelihood.

If you admit guilt to your attorney then he will still advocate on your behalf for the best possible sentence, but he won’t support your later claims that “some weirdo” tried to falsely accuse you. His client would be the weirdo in that case.

FlutherAlot's avatar


No the too bad was when my car was stolen. Thats what they said to me (in different words of course).

The hypothetical case does not involve injury or death (so the cops will not work as hard). Of course I wil sand that shit to the metal lol. Remember I am the mechanic, there are no other mechanics. You do have some good points though. The only thing I am stuck on is this:

“If you admit guilt to your attorney then he will still advocate on your behalf for the best possible sentence, ”

That implies you will still get a sentence. Now the attorney is trying to simply “minimize your loss“as opposed to an all out win. I am sure many many people get off on lies that are simply unprovable.

I have had one instance where I was burgalarized. I KNEW who did it. I had a beef with the kid. Word got around “the street.” But I could not prove it. The cops said there is nothing they could do. Those kids simply had to lie and say they were at a friends house that night and they would have gotten off had a case been filed.

Trillian's avatar

Are you asking in regard to this?

FlutherAlot's avatar


Nah. With tickets you just pay the lawyer and go about your way. You never even speak to him.

I’ve just been reading a lot of legal stuff today due to it lol. It just got me thinking.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I have heard that lawyers have a civil duty to disclose incriminating evidence to the authorities. From there their job would be to reduce your sentence as much as possible.

SeventhSense's avatar

I don’t know. Just please steer clear of my block.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I admit guilt to NO one! I didn’t do it. It was the one-armed man. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! : P

Trillian's avatar

I don’t know for sure about this. It seems like in movies that I’ve seen, the lawyer doesn’t want to know for sure that the person is guilty. They want to knwo details that could look bad in court, but not an actual admission of guilt.

galileogirl's avatar

In the US. Never volunteer information, even to your lawyer. Answer all the lawyer’s questions truthfully, s/he knows what s/he needs to know.

filmfann's avatar

Tell your lawyer the truth, and let him lie for you.

thriftymaid's avatar

Some defense attorneys do not want to know. Let the attorney guide your discussion.

thriftymaid's avatar

@filmfann This he or she cannot do; that is why some do not want to know.

filmfann's avatar

An attorney needs to know from what to protect you.
Say you are innocent, and he may unknowingly allow evidence in that convicts you.

Janka's avatar

The question has a built-in assumption that the “best” for you and therefore what you “should” do is to get away with having done a wrong. I find this assumption questionable.

YARNLADY's avatar

My best friend worked for a defense lawyer, and she says it’s best to let the lawyer ask you questions, and answer them truthfully, but don’t volunteer anything beyond that. Her lawyer tells his clients that right up front.

john65pennington's avatar

Flutheralot, this is an awful lot to go through for a simple hit and run. a good traffic investigator would eventually make a case against your hypothetical hit and run driver.

Trillian's avatar

@Janka You’re awesome!

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@john65pennington I don’t trust attorneys, either. Particularly malpractice attorneys. :-)

SeventhSense's avatar

this is an awful lot to go through for a simple hit and run
I guess that all depends on what he hit.

Janka's avatar

@Trillian Thanks. That made me blush. In a good way. :)

TheThrelkeldKult's avatar


You want your lawyer fo believe you are innocent.

Silhouette's avatar

No sir, I don’t. Don’t lie to your doctor or your lawyer.

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