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What is the duty of candor?


What is the duty of candor?

On behalf of Patrick T. McNally, Attorney at Law | 
December 4, 2019

When you hire a defense attorney, you know that he or she will work hard on your case. However, an attorney walks a fine line when defending a client. He or she must stay within the limits of the law when pleading your case and defending you. It is not always an easy task, but it is one that every defense attorney in Tennessee must do. 

The American Bar Association explains that it is often difficult for an attorney to maintain confidentiality and uphold all other duties he or she is legally bound to uphold while also adhering to the duty of candor. This is something that you need to understand, as well. The duty of candor is a little confusing to understand. 

What it means 

Simply put, the duty of candor is the responsibility of your attorney to be honest in court. While there are plenty of lawyer jokes about dishonesty, this is actually quite untrue. Your attorney cannot lie in court or otherwise make false statements on your behalf. This makes it sometimes hard for your attorney, who will have to allude to certain ideas and infer to the jury about conclusions she or he may want the jury to draw about certain evidence without outright saying something that may not be true. At the same time, though, your attorney cannot mislead the jury, either. It is a careful balance to walk. 

It also applies if you were to lie on the stand. If your attorney knows that what you say is not true, then he or she cannot allow that to stand. What usually occurs in this situation is the attorney asks the court to remove him or her from the case.  Your attorney cannot advise you to lie on the stand, either. If this happens, you have the right to report this. 

The duty of candor is just one of the reasons why you need to always be honest with your attorney. 

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