If you are having to make a court appearance for a criminal case in the near future, you may be tempted to appear “pro se” or “on one’s behalf” in order to defend yourself. Although this may seem like a money saving option, in reality it could cost you more time, money, and potentially the whole case if done incorrectly. Generally, it is ill-advised to represent yourself in a court case and here are a few of the reasons why.
1. Judge Tolerance
Winning over your judge is one of the most important aspects when involved in a court case. By choosing to represent yourself with little knowledge of the legal system, it is likely the judge will not be tolerant or patient. You do not get granted a free pass for not knowing the rules or not having a lawyer present. The judge will hold you to the same standards as if you did. Judges are not able to offer you assistance in the middle of the case if you get stuck, as you would be expected to be equipped with all necessary knowledge. A judge will be able to read you your rights and in doing so will strongly urge you to have an experienced defense counsel. Having a lawyer represent you will also make the trial go smoother for all parties involved.
2. Mountains of Paperwork
A court case comes with an overwhelming amount of paperwork that is expected to be filled out correctly and submitted before the various deadlines. Failing to fill out a line or make a deadline could mean a world of difference in terms of the outcome of your case. Lawyers are trained for years to have strict attention to detail and possess the knowledge of the different rules that come with the processing and submission of each document. Hiring an experienced defense will help take this weight off your shoulders so you are able to focus on your role in the trial.
3. Lack of Legal Knowledge
By not possessing enough legal knowledge, you could end up damaging your case. Defense attorneys spend years studying and practicing the ins and outs of the law both in school and in court. They are also trained to not let emotions cloud the argument at hand, which can be difficult to do without training and practice. Letting your emotions take the wheel when defending yourself could lead you to say something incriminating to your own case and could further irritate the judge. The lack of basic legal knowledge and trial structure could also be damaging as you have most likely never presented opening and closing statements, interviewed a witness, or argued evidence. It is extremely important each of these elements are done correctly, which is why it is worth investing in someone who has trained for years to do so.
4. The Other Party Will Have A Lawyer
If you are defending yourself in a case, you have to fully accept the realization that the other party will most likely have a lawyer. This automatically puts the odds in their favor as you would be defending yourself against someone with years of legal expertise and knowledge. You want to give yourself the best chance possible to have a fair trial which is why you are given the right to an attorney. This right was given for a reason, so it is highly recommended you use it.
5. Hire An Expert
There are some things in life that require an expert to ensure it is done correctly. Rarely would you cut your own hair, do you own dental work, or build your own home. The court is no different. If you want your case to have the fairest outcome possible, it is highly recommended you hire an experienced lawyer to defend you. A lawyer will save you time, money, and stress in the long run and will be your partner to guide you through the extensive legal process.
Here at Barfoot & Schoettker, we provide an expert team of attorneys that are determined to pursue justice on your behalf. Contact us today through our website form or giving us a call at (334) 834-3444.