While it is your right to represent yourself, it is not always a good idea to do so. Often, people who represent themselves in a criminal case have to deal with challenges on top of the case itself. For one, the judge will have to determine your competence to represent yourself, which is already a high hurdle to overcome. Suppose you’re allowed to represent yourself, the prospect of facing a trained and experienced lawyer in a court trial is tougher than you might think. It’s like playing against a professional boxer in a boxing match. You have slim chances of winning.
Your best option is to hire a criminal attorney based in Salt Lake City or wherever the plaintiff has filed the charges. But let’s further discuss why taking the self-representation is route isn’t an ideal situation.
Books Don’t Teach You Everything
Those who choose to represent themselves are usually smart people who believe they can learn everything from the books. This is only partly true, and what you can learn from the books might not be enough to defend yourself in an actual legal battle. The books will surely teach you the definition of crimes, the corresponding punishment for violations, and how courtroom procedures go. But the books will not teach you how the system works. You can’t fully understand the practice of criminal law by merely reading books. You need an experienced criminal lawyer to represent you.
What Can an Experienced Criminal Lawyer Do For You?
Here is a hard truth to swallow: no matter how smart and educated you are, the legal system makes it virtually impossible for you to represent yourself successfully. Each criminal case can come with specific challenges, and sometimes, you need a specialist to go over the particulars of the case. It’s hard enough to face charges, so make your life easier by hiring a criminal defense lawyer. Here’s what a lawyer can do for you:
Negotiate for a lesser sentence through a plea bargain. Prosecutors tend to be less cooperative when a self-represented defendant asks for deals.
Help you cope with your situation so that you can avoid future legal battles. Some people need guidance from an experienced lawyer so they can prevent future problems with the criminal justice system.
Give you an objective look at your situation. A lawyer can help you gain a good grip on your situation if it goes to trial. This is important, especially if the prosecutor will offer a plea deal.
A lawyer is more familiar with hidden criminal rules that you will find impossible to know on your own. A lot of these rules are hidden behind court rulings, which you may not know, especially if you only hit the books for a short period.
While this list is in no way complete, it should at least give you an idea of why self-representation is not a good option. You may have the right to represent yourself, but it doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do. It’s hard enough to face charges, and you will only make your life harder if you represent yourself.