Should you tell your attorney the truth if you killed someone?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Being charged with homicide (murder) is the most serious charge of all. As such, it demands a robust defense against the charges.

That leads to the question whether you should tell your attorney the whole truth about your role in the circumstances that got you arrested. Below is some important information to consider when making your decision.

Your attorney needs knowledge to build your defense

Your attorney is starting with an enormous handicap when they have to learn the case facts solely from the prosecutor. Remember that the prosecution’s priority is to notch another conviction onto their belt.  Tennessee is a death penalty state, so in the worst situations, your attorney could literally be battling to save your life. They need all the information you can give them.

But defense attorneys can’t allow clients to lie on the stand

If you confess all to your attorney and admit your guilt, they cannot legally allow you to take the stand in court and lie about your role in the murder of the decedent. That could get them charged with subornation of perjury and potentially wind up with their own felony conviction. This strategy, too, can wind up leaving defense attorneys hamstrung in their defense of their clients.

Why letting your attorney lead is usually best

A good attorney may never ask their client outright whether they are guilty of the charges. What might be factually true could be legally impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the legal standard of proof in criminal court cases. Take advantage of your defense counsel’s vast trove of legal knowledge and allow them to construct your defense.


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