When does attorney client privilege apply?

If someone interviews a lawyer but does not hire that lawyer, can the disclosures to that lawyer be used to build a case against that person? Does it matter if the issue is a misdemeanor?

Asked on October 25, 2011 under Criminal Law, Arkansas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If a person consults with an attorney about a legal matter and the expectation by the person consulting with the attorney is that the communications are to be confidential, then the communications are in fact confidential and privileged under the attorney client privilege.

Even if the person consulting with that particular attorney does not retain him or her, the communications are still confidential and cannot be disclosed by the attorney to any third person absent written consent by the client after the client is advised of the express waiver of such a privilege.

If the attorney breaches this confidentiality of the client, he or she can be subject to state bar disciplinary proceedings for the unauthorized disclosure of privileged communications.

Good question.

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