4 Reasons Not To Represent Yourself in Court

Criminal Defense Lawyer

In the U.S., you have the right to appear pro see. This means that you can appear on your own behalf and defend yourself against criminal charges. While this may sound like a good way to save money on attorney fees, it doesn’t work out that way in the long run. When you don’t have an attorney, you are compromising your case. Here is why you should never represent yourself in a criminal trial.

You May Not Have Legal Knowledge

Most defendants do not have a lot of prior legal knowledge. Even when they do know about the law, they don’t typically have enough to represent themselves. The law is complicated and most people do not know how to navigate procedures within a courtroom. It might look simple when you watch it, but it is far more difficult and overwhelming.  Without knowledge, you cannot form the best possible defense for your case. A lawyer will research the crimes you were charged for. In most cases, you will want to choose a criminal justice lawyer who studied and worked in the field that you are being charged in.

You Lack Experience in a Courtroom

If you’ve never defended a client in a courtroom, you do not want to defend yourself at trial. When you go to trial, you are facing another attorney. It is critical to understand how to argue against the other attorney. Most lawyers can predict the arguments that the prosecutor may bring up. In addition, trial lawyers know the clerk, bailiffs, judges and others at the trial. You may not have reviewed the evidence, argued motions or presented an opening before. A criminal justice lawyer has that experience, however.

You May Be Too Emotional

When you are fighting for your freedom and life, you can’t always look at it objectively. It is difficult to stay calm and sound objective when you are worried about the charge or feel like you’re being falsely charged. To counter that, a lawyer will be objective and calm. He or she will not act emotional or let emotions drive the argument and decision-making.

You Could Incriminate Yourself

While you have a right not to incriminate yourself, you also need to be careful about what you say. The other side could use anything against you. Some people incriminate themselves when they represent themselves with what they say. Leave the talking to your lawyer to avoid self-incrimination.

When it comes to representing yourself, it is rarely a good idea. A professional law firm like Law Group of Iowa with experienced criminal defense lawyers can explain the charges being brought against you and develop a strong case in your defense. 

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