What happens when you lie to your own DWI lawyer? Nothing good. That's right. The client who lies to their own lawyer fools no one but their own self. When charged with a Texas DWI, nothing good can come from lying to your own lawyer, especially when that lie is about what really happened leading up to the DWI charge. Clients have every reason to tell their DWI lawyer the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This allows your lawyer to deftly navigate your case to mitigate weaknesses and accentuate all the positives to your case.
Why People Lie to Their Own Lawyer
Clients charged with a DWI probably lie for several reasons, none of them good. A DWI charge can embarrass almost anyone. Some clients probably lie simply to save face and avoid embarrassment. They don't want to share the true details because they don't like how those details make them appear to themselves and others. Look: nothing embarrasses 2021 Houston DWI Lawyer of the Year Doug Murphy. As an experienced criminal defense lawyer, attorney Murphy has seen and heard it all, far more than you can imagine. Tell the truth quickly, and get over the embarrassment. Attorney Murphy won't make you feel worse for having told the truth. You'll feel better.
On the other hand, some clients lie, thinking that if they tell the truth, their lawyer will tell their confidential information to others, not just the prosecution but friends and family members. On the contrary, criminal defense lawyers have a strict duty of confidentiality. Exceptions to that duty, such as to save another from death or serious injury, rarely if ever apply to cases involving DWI charges. If you tell the truth to Board Certified DWI Specialist Doug Murphy, then he's going to keep your information confidential unless and until you authorize otherwise. You also have a lawyer/client privilege that generally keeps private what you say to your lawyer and what your lawyer advises you about those matters. You can tell your DWI lawyer the whole truth and expect it to remain confidential.
Clients have other misconceptions about what might happen if they tell their DWI lawyer the whole truth. Some clients lie, believing that if they admit to their own lawyer that they committed a DWI crime, then their lawyer can do nothing for them. However, the law is complex, and the details you are withholding may not be a confession to a crime at all. And even if it is a confession to your lawyer, you still have the constitutional right to require the prosecution to prove its case without violating your rights or requiring you to incriminate yourself. When you tell the whole truth, National DWI expert Doug Murphy can still aggressively represent you, helping you stand on your constitutional rights.
Why Lies Don't Work
Believe it or not, the criminal justice system anticipates that some defendants will lie. And the system provides several ways of uncovering lies. Police interview witnesses, review surveillance video, impound and search vehicles, make accident reconstructions, administer sobriety tests, and get warrants for blood-alcohol tests The evidence that police and detective work produces can give the prosecution a clear picture of the event without any statement or testimony from the DWI defendant. Within that context, lies simply don't work.
All that other available evidence also prepares the prosecution to cross-examine and impeach the defendant, who may expect to testify successfully to the lie. Skilled cross-examination is an engine of truth. That engine can run over liars. Cross-examination exposes lies. And it doesn't take a big lie to ruin a DWI defense. Even a little lie, like a small exaggeration on a point that is hardly even material, can undermine everything else that the defendant says or presents, even if those other things are true. Lies just don't work, given evidentiary context and skilled cross-examination. The worst thing a defendant can do is to lie.
Hazards of Lying
You've seen above that the reasons people give for lying to their own DWI lawyer are bad reasons, borne of misunderstanding, and that lies don't work. Yet, the problem with lying to your own lawyer doesn't stop with your own confusion over your rights and interests. Nor does the problem stop with you and your lawyer, even if you say nothing, true or false, to the police. Lying to your DWI lawyer about what happened leading to the DWI charge can compromise and destroy the defense your DWI lawyer attempts to present. Rather than winning your case with lies, you can lose a winnable case because you didn't tell your DWI lawyer the whole truth. You can also face enhanced crimes and penalties when your lies extend beyond your lawyer.
Texas law criminalizes offenses against its criminal-justice system, one of which is to lie in the course of an investigation or proceeding. Texas Penal Code Section 37.02 makes a Class A misdemeanor an intentionally deceptive false statement under oath, otherwise known as perjury. To sign or give a sworn statement is a crime. Texas Penal Code Section 37.03 elevates material perjury to a third-degree felony if it occurs within an official proceeding such as a DWI trial. A DWI suspect doesn't even have to lie under oath to commit a crime. Texas Penal Code Section 37.08 makes a Class B misdemeanor any material false report to a peace officer in the course of an investigation. If your lie to your lawyer extends to police statements and testimony, your hazards include potential false-report and perjury charges.
Ruining Your DWI Lawyer's Representation
When you don't tell your DWI lawyer the whole truth, and instead share lies or withhold information, you also deprive your lawyer of what the police and prosecution may well already know. Again, road officers, detectives, and prosecutors have seen lies before. Witnesses, scene observations, inspections, reconstructions, and tests have almost surely given the other side a reasonable idea of what happened, as evidence against the charged driver, even without listening to the charged driver's truth or lies. You certainly don't want your lawyer going into battle knowing less than the other side. For your DWI lawyer to provide you with the best defense, you want your lawyer to know more than the other side or at least to know everything the other side knows. Give yourself a chance. To get the effective advocacy for which you retained your DWI lawyer, tell your lawyer the truth.
When you don't tell your DWI lawyer the whole truth, and instead tell your lawyer lies, you also place your lawyer in a hazardous position. When you retain Texas DWI attorney Doug Murphy, you gain his high reputation and good professional relationships. Attorney Murphy built that reputation and those relationships on honesty, integrity, expertise, and aggressive advocacy of his client's rights. When a client lies to the client's own lawyer, the client loses those very advantages for which the client retained the lawyer. High-skill, high-reputation, experienced criminal-defense lawyers don't sacrifice their reputations for lying clients. They instead put their expertise to work for clients who tell them the truth. Don't make a fool out of your own lawyer.
But another reason exists why lying to your lawyer destroys the representation. Just as the police and prosecution probably already know the truth or most of it, from the other available evidence, so does your own DWI lawyer. It can be just as hard or harder to fool your own lawyer as to fool the police and prosecution. And if your DWI lawyer knows you are lying, then your lawyer cannot help you present the lie as if it were the truth. Lawyers owe a duty to the court not to present false evidence. The lawyer who knowingly presents false evidence risks losing the lawyer's license, not to mention losing the trust and reputation on which the lawyer depends for successful advocacy.
In short, if you lie to your DWI lawyer, and your DWI lawyer knows it, you may have just lost your lawyer. With all that lawyers have at stake in truth-telling, including their ability to represent you effectively while complying with court rules and rules of ethics to preserve their own career and reputation, lawyers don't take kindly to clients telling them lies. Retainer agreements generally require that the client cooperates with the lawyer. Telling your lawyer a lie isn't cooperating. It is instead undermining and destroying the lawyer/client relationship. Clients sometimes fire their lawyer. But lawyers sometimes fire their client. Lying to your lawyer is a poor way to terminate the relationship.
What Telling the Truth Accomplishes
You can see the many bad things that can flow from lying to your DWI lawyer. What good, though, flows from telling your lawyer the truth?
The first thing that telling your lawyer the whole truth accomplishes is to equip your DWI lawyer to fashion the best strategic defense. Defendants generally have several options for defending a DWI charge, some options better than others. Those options can include constitutional challenges to the stop and arrest, challenges to the search and seizure of evidence, witness credibility challenges, and challenges to the administering and results of tests. Telling your DWI lawyer the whole truth helps your lawyer choose and pursue the best defense option. You don't want your lawyer running down dead ends. The whole truth gets your lawyer pointed in the right direction.
Telling your lawyer the whole truth can also help your lawyer protect you against self-incrimination. In criminal proceedings like a DWI case, you have a Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. That privilege means that you don't have to testify. It also means that a judge or jury cannot use your refusal to testify against you. In most cases, a DWI defendant does better not to testify and instead to challenge the prosecution's evidence. When you tell your lawyer the whole truth, your lawyer can help you make an informed decision about whether to testify. Your lawyer can protect you against a withering cross-examination that would likely expose any inconsistencies, exaggerations, or lies.
The Power of the Truth
The best thing, though, that telling your DWI lawyer the whole truth may do is to to be open and honest about whatever occurred.
Yes, your relationship with your DWI lawyer is important. And yes, that relationship with your lawyer depends on you telling your lawyer the truth. But you have an even more-important consideration than the relationship with your lawyer. Your own character is at stake with you. One lie begets another. Don't undermine your own character by lying when it's most convenient to you. Your DWI matter is critically important to you. You may have only one opportunity to tell one person--your DWI lawyer--the whole truth about that most-important DWI matter. Don't blow your one opportunity to tell the truth when it matters.
A DWI charge is inevitably a life-impacting matter, even when DWI Specialist Doug Murphy's aggressive defense wins a dismissal. You want and need in life to be able to look back at those life-defining events satisfied with your own conduct. Don't build a life on a lie. Don't try to protect a good life with a bad lie. Act honorably in all things and at all times. The confidentiality that binds your DWI lawyer, and your lawyer/client privilege, give you the perfect opportunity for a healthy confession to exactly what happened that led to your DWI charge.
Tell the Truth to the Best Available DWI Attorney
Fair, firm, and aggressive representation from attorney Doug Murphy, who is one of only two Texas lawyers holding both DWI Board Certification and Criminal Law Certification, can beat a DWI charge. But you must tell your DWI lawyer the whole truth. You have too much on the line to compromise your own defense. Instead, hire the best available DWI attorney, and tell your DWI lawyer the whole truth. With the full cooperation of his clients, 2021 Houston DWI Lawyer of the Year Doug Murphy defends and defeats DWI charges, preserving the very things, like a job, license, and reputation, that foolish clients would instead try to preserve with a lie. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm now online or at (713) 229-8333.