Privileged Communications in Utah Criminal Defense Cases

Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers – Privileged Communications

In Utah Criminal Defense Cases and trials, there are some special circumstances in which a person may refrain or even be prohibited from testifying about certain matters. Privileged communications may occur when a person has gained information as a result of a confidential relationship. Such exchanges of confidential information are known in the legal world as “privileged communications.” If a privilege exists, evidence of any communication made within the privilege may be barred from introduction into legal proceedings including at trial. However, it is important to remember that privileges can be waived by the holder or in some cases exceptions to privileges may apply. If you or someone you know has been asked to testify against their will and a potential privilege may apply, call the Criminal Defense at Salcido Law Firm today; 801.413.1753.

Conditions for Privileges

Generally, there are 4 fundamental conditions that must be established before a potential witness will be found exempt from testifying based on a claim of privilege. First, the parties to a communication must believe their conversation is confidential. Second, the issue of confidentiality must be essential to the relationship of the parties. Third, the relationship between the parties must be one recognized as privileged or promoted as protected. Finally, injury to the relationship of the parties must be greater than the value of the proper resolution of the case.

Specific Privileged Relationships

There are a limited number of relationships that are deemed privileged under the law. Such privileged relationships include:

  • Husband and Wife
  • Attorney and Client
  • Doctor and Patient
  • Parent and Child
  • Clergy and Communicant

Certain other relationships may also be privileged in some cases. The holder of the privilege is generally the person who benefits from the privilege and has the power to waive it. For instance, in most cases, a wife cannot be compelled to testify against her husband. However, in such a case, the wife is the holder of the privilege and can choose to waive her privilege and testify, the defendant husband is not the holder of the privilege and generally cannot prevent his wife from offering testimony.

Free Consultation with Utah Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are someone you know has been charged with a crime and have questions about who can be compelled to testify and who cannot, call and speak with a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney at Salcido Law Firm now. If you have been called as a witness and would like to know what your rights are with regards to choosing to testify, we can help. A Defense Lawyer in our office can answer your questions any time. Call today at 801.413.1753 or simply fill out our Free Case Review form.

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