Individuals are allowed to represent themselves in court, but that does not mean it is a good idea. In fact, representing yourself in court can be quite damaging. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why representing yourself in court is detrimental:
Knowing the Rules
In order to represent yourself successfully in court, you have to know all the ground rules. However, very people are aware of all the rules and the judge does not have time to explain them all. Some judges actually become frustrated with those that represent themselves in court.
When you are facing criminal charges, it is normal to feel a wide range of emotions. However, these emotions can prevent you from thinking clearly at times. If you can’t keep your cool, you are more likely to make mistakes. A skilled lawyer, like a criminal defense lawyer Fairfax VA relies on, can offer objectivity and prevent you from making bad decisions. For example, he or she help you determine if it’s better to take a plea deal or go to trial.
The Social Factor
There also the social factors to consider. You might not know how a particular judge will respond to a specific part of your case. Or you might not know what types of questions to ask when cross-examining a police officer. Experienced lawyers know the people who enforce and practice the law and are much more successful at questioning them.
What an Attorney Can Do
An experienced and skilled lawyer can do many things for you, such as explaining your rights and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your case. He or she will also take the time to cross-examine witnesses and prepare a strong courtroom defense.
If you have a dedicated lawyer by your side, he or she can also keep you from self-incriminating yourself if you have to talk to the police. Your lawyer can stop the police from asking illegal questions.
The Best Reason: Losing Hurts
If you represent yourself and don’t possess any legal experience, you are likely to lose your case. According to a 2004 study from the Board of Immigration Appeals, individuals who represented themselves were successful only 10 percent of the time. Hiring a skilled lawyer will cost you more money, but it is worth the cost. You can have a peace of mind knowing that your case is in good hands.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Albo & Oblon, L.L.P. for their insight into criminal defense practice.