Most experts warn that you should never attempt to defend yourself when charged with a crime, especially if it is a matter that may result in jail or prison time.
While there is no definitive figure for people who have tried to defend themselves, the number falls below one percent and has oftentimes proved futile.
It is hard to competently defend yourself no matter how educated you are, so your best bet is to locate a qualified criminal defense attorney.
Experience Trumps What You’ve Read In A Book
Trying to represent yourself in court is not as simple as reading a book, but rather having the experience of dealing with the court system, which is why a lawyer is vital.
Knowledge of the law is great, but practicing or applying it is not simple, but a skill that has to be honed.
There is a multitude of factors to take into consideration the tendencies of the presiding judge or even the prosecutor. Similar cases to yours and their outcome.
If it’s a widely publicized matter, you want to know which side the public is leaning to and how it may impact your case.
Therefore, with those factors, and the myriad of others, it would be prudent of you to think twice before considering self-representation.
You cannot discount the power that a prosecutor has in determining what direction the case goes and the charges to file.
You may perceive the crime in one manner but the prosecutor may convert it into multiple crimes with greater and/or lesser charges.
In a book, it looks clear cut, in reality, the prosecutor can spin it into several possibilities.
Never rule out the influence that the community has on what transpires in a courtroom.
While a judge is to ignore anything outside the case at hand, if they plan to run for public office, what they say or do in court can impact them later when they need the public’s vote.
A criminal defense attorney understands the pressures of the public and the impact it may have on the police, prosecutor, and judges, and ultimately knows how to maneuver their way around it.
What an Attorney Can Do for You
All criminal cases are distinct, and only an expert who is familiar with evaluating the points of a case and its inconsistencies can deliver the kind of articulation that a criminal defendant requires to obtain justice.
A criminal defense attorney does extensively more than merely questioning witnesses such as, mediate with prosecutors for lesser charges or sentences and they have familiarity with the territory.
You’d be ignored as a self-represented defendant if you attempt to negotiate with the prosecutor.
An attorney helps you face the reality of the situation, helps alleviate fear, and determines whether to accept a plea bargain.
Your criminal lawyer knows about rules locked away in the court versions of federal and state laws. How a court views situations such as property searches go beyond what you read in a book.
Your defense lawyer is intimate with local court policies and protocols that are not documented anywhere.
Therefore they understand how the prosecutor usually handles specific situations and will use that to your advantage.
Your attorney can garner information from prosecution witnesses which would be difficult for you to do as it may appear intimidating.
Your attorney can also hire a private investigator which could lead to the witness contradicting themselves.
They would appear more believable than you claiming the witness told you something contrary ahead of the trial.
Finally, the world of criminal law is enormous, mysterious, and constantly changing positions, and defendants who choose to go without representation, enter at their own demise.