Why Your Criminal Case is in Better Hands with an Attorney

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If you’re facing criminal charges, whether for DUI, drug possession, theft, domestic violence, or anything else, it’s crucial to be represented by a skilled attorney throughout your entire case. Whether it’s a felony or misdemeanor, you need a customized legal strategy to get the best case outcome.

Battling your case alone is never a good idea; most people who represent themselves do not win and end up with severe penalties that a lawyer could have negotiated down on their behalf. If you’re thinking about self-representation, here are some reasons to reconsider.

The court system is complex

No matter how many court forms you’ve filed or trips to the courthouse you’ve taken for small claims or random needs, nothing will prepare you to face criminal charges on your own. If the fact that you’re facing charges isn’t intimidating enough, the court system itself will be overwhelming.  

Mistakes aren’t forgiven just because you’re pro se

One of the most important considerations before going into your case alone is the fact that judges are not obligated to help you throughout your case. Although you have a legal right to defend yourself, you will be held to the same standards as actual attorneys, which means if you make a mistake, you probably won’t get a second chance.

Most judges don’t like pro se litigants because they slow down the process, and if they helped everyone along the way, it would be exhausting. It would be similar to the judge having to train a new attorney who didn’t go to law school. It’s time-consuming and frustrating. Still, some judges feel obligated to help and will do so begrudgingly.

You might get an understanding, helpful judge, but there’s no guarantee. Your judge might be hostile toward parties without a lawyer. You won’t know until you get into the courtroom. Certain mistakes can cause you to lose your case. That’s why you need a criminal defense attorney to represent you. They’ll create the best defense possible given your circumstances and won’t commit procedural errors that can cause you to lose your case.

You can’t ask the other party’s attorney for help with anything

Before you get to court, you might not realize how many small questions you’ll have. However, once the process starts, you will have plenty of questions, especially if it’s your first time involved in the justice system. Don’t plan on asking other people in the courtroom for help, whether it’s the judge or the other attorneys.

No matter how small your question might be, you can’t ask the other party’s attorney for help. Technically you can ask, but they aren’t going to help you, even if all you need is something small, like the definition of a word on a legal form or basic information about how to file a motion. For your opponent’s attorney to help you would be considered unethical and a violation of their commitment to their client.

The legal process doesn’t work the way it does on television

Some people think self-representation is easy because they’ve seen so many courtroom scenes on television and in movies that make it seem smooth and simple. Television shows depict a simplified, compact version of courtroom action. The reality will be intimidating. Don’t wait to find this out – get yourself a skilled criminal defense attorney right away. If you go it alone, by the time you realize you made a mistake, it will be too late to change your mind.

You can get a free lawyer if you need one

If you’re thinking you need to represent yourself because you’ll be without a lawyer otherwise, don’t worry because you can get a state-appointed attorney if you qualify. The income requirements vary by state, so you’ll need to find out what rules apply to your situation. You don’t have to face criminal charges alone if you don’t have the funds for a defense attorney.

Although, if you have the money to pay for an attorney, even if you also qualify for free legal counsel, it’s usually better to get your own attorney. State-appointed attorneys are skilled professionals, but they are often overloaded with cases and sometimes don’t have enough time to thoroughly understand each of their cases. It’s not their fault, but the result can be less desirable than an attorney with the time to thoroughly understand your case.

Get your optimal defense with an attorney

While some pro se litigants do succeed, it’s rare. Don’t take any chances with your future. 

Hire a criminal defense attorney to get the best possible outcome for your case.

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