You are currently out on bail and awaiting trial for criminal charges. You have gotten to this point without having a lawyer, and you feel that since this is your first offense, there is no need for a criminal defense lawyer. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are at least seven reasons you should never represent yourself in a criminal trial.
What is your highest level of education? High school? GED? Bachelors? Even if you have a graduate degree, did you study law? Lawyers dedicate years to pursuing their education, and a considerable amount of that time is spent in mock trials, meaning they are well-prepared for court proceedings. Are you?
Next, how much time have you spent defending other clients? A lawyer has experience in the courtroom, and criminal defense attorneys have experience defending clients against the arguments of prosecutors.
Also, before you decide to defend yourself, think about the consequences if something goes wrong. You are looking at jail time, and depending on the charge, you could spend a significant number of years in prison.
- Rules and Procedure
How much experience do you have in a courtroom? Courts and trials have rules and procedures, and every defense or prosecution is built around those practices. If you are not familiar with the process, then it is likely you will make a mistake, which could be detrimental to your case.
Many people who defend themselves wrongly believe that the judge and court staff are there to help. While accurate in some respects, when it comes to arguing your case or objecting on your behalf, the assumption is incorrect. Taking on your own defense means that you argue it alone, for better or worse.
Because your life hangs in the balance, trials are incredibly emotional. You will hear testimony that is meant to get under your skin and undermine your character, but as your own defense team, you can’t let emotion get in the way, which is nearly impossible.
Last, your odds at presenting a successful defense are slim on your own and without any legal knowledge. Defense attorneys know the law and want to fight for you. Let them.
If you have been arrested and are interested in discussing your case, then contact a local and experienced criminal justice attorney, like a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA from The Morales Law Firm. They will help you put together a defense and fight your case in court.