Privileged Communication in Florida
What is it?
In the legal world, privileged communication refers to communication that is legally protected in some manner. There are many different ways and circumstances in which communication is privileged.
Each situation is specific and requires an actual legal analysis. This section is only meant as a loose guide to outline some of those privileges listed in the Florida Statutes. It is important to understand that this section will be broad, with many of the specifics and nuances missing. If you have a question about your specific situation and whether your communication is or will be privileged you should always call an experienced criminal defense lawyer for a consultation.
Types of Privileged Communication
- Journalist’s Communication: 90.5015 “A professional journalist has a qualified privilege not to be a witness concerning and not to disclose the information including the identity of any source that the professional journalist has obtained while actively gathering news.”
- Lawyer’s Communication: 90.502 “Communication between lawyer and client is confidential if it is not intended to be disclosed to third persons.”
- Fiduciary Lawyer-Client Communication: 90.5021 “Communication between a lawyer and a client acting as a fiduciary is privileged and protected from disclosure to the same extent under 90.502 to the same extent as if the client were not acting as a fiduciary.”
- Psychotherapist-Patient Communication: 90.503 “Communication between psychotherapist and patient is confidential if it is not intended to be disclosed to third persons.”
- Sexual-Assault Counselor-Victim Communication:90.5035 “A communication between a sexual assault counselor or trained volunteer and a victim is confidential if it is not intended to be disclosed to third persons.”
- Domestic Violence Advocate-Victim Communication: 90.5036 “Communication between a domestic violence advocate and a victim is confidential if it relates to the incident of domestic violence for which the victim is seeking assistance and if not intended to be disclosed to third persons.”
- Husband-Wife Communication: 90.504 “A spouse has a privilege during and after the marital relationship to refuse to disclose, and to prevent another from disclosing, communications which were intended to be made in confidence between the spouses while they were husband and wife.”
- Accountant-Client Communication: 90.5055 Communication between an accountant and his client is privileged communication. The privilege includes confidential information obtained by the accountant from the client for the purpose of rendering accounting advice.
Simply looking at the types of privileged communication may make it seem like determining what is privileged communication and what is not is an easy task. However, it is not always so simple. For example, there is case law that suggests a phone call between lawyer and client is not considered confidential depending on where the call was made (e.g. Jail). It is imperative to call an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Florida to discuss privileged communication before it is made, not after.