I am charged with a criminal offence and am wondering whether I should tell my lawyer the truth? What if the lawyer refuses to defend me after hearing me? What are the lawyer’s duties to me as his client?
There is what you call an Attorney Client privilege whereby your lawyer cannot disclose any information relating to an offence you have committed. It may not fully apply to an offence you are about to commit.
Whilst lawyers might be employed by you, they are still officers of the Court, and therefore cannot lie or misguide the Court. Hence if your lawyer knows you are guilty of an offence, the first thing he must do is tell you to plead guilty to that offence, unless there are factors that your lawyer can legally use to mitigate the offence or its consequences.
Your lawyer can attack the prosecution’s evidence and can come up with arguments that may be less than rock solid, so long as they are reasonably supported by the evidence.
You must appreciate that every attorney is going to be different in what he/she wants to know, and things will vary based on the specific case, Court, and gravity of the charges. As a general rule, you should never lie to your attorney as this will ultimately backfire.
Lastly, after hearing the trust, the lawyer has a right to discontinue to represent you. He however cannot testify against you in Court.