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Cobb County Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / Why You Shouldn’t Represent Yourself in Criminal Court

Why You Shouldn’t Represent Yourself in Criminal Court


Defending yourself in criminal court may be the first instinct in some cases for financial reasons alone.

Pro se representation, or the legal ability to represent yourself in court, might seem like a financial win if you’re facing criminal charges.

But while you’re concerned about the financial responsibility behind criminal charges, what type of defense are you building to get the best possible outcome for your case?

Understand that the odds will be against you if you try to represent yourself in criminal court. There will likely be a lack of a solid defense to win your case given that you don’t have the experience to back it up.

Experienced attorneys have a track record of defending criminals in the courtroom and getting the best possible outcome for their cases. Hiring a professional is the best option for building a criminal defense.

When you’re being charged with a crime, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t represent yourself in criminal court.

Lack of Knowledge of Law and Court Procedures

Representing yourself in criminal court goes beyond evidence, events, and facts.

Courtroom proceedings are structured by law as well. Certain steps are followed during a trial. Part of an attorney’s study of law is learning how the courtroom and trial work. From basic classroom study to mentorship and first-hand experience with a firm, even the best attorneys may take years to fully comprehend the basic proceedings in a courtroom. Given that most judges are strict in their enforcement of courtroom rules of procedure, representing yourself without the proper knowledge of courtroom proceedings could result in an error that could result in more charges, such as contempt of court. Not knowing proper courtroom procedures could land you more fines and/or jail time.

Opposing Lawyer

When facing criminal charges, you’re likely going to face a district attorney who is more experienced and dedicated to putting criminals in their place. Deciding to go up against a seasoned attorney gives you very little chance of winning. You’ll need the best criminal defense lawyer to do so.

Your minimal insight into the legal system and how the courtroom works won’t fare up well against the opposition, as they will likely have years of experience and courtroom exposure. This leverage means you probably won’t get the best possible outcome for your criminal case. They will know every possible card to play against you from evidentiary support to proceedings and more.

Required Paperwork

When facing civil or criminal charges and heading into court, there will likely be a mountain of paperwork associated with your case. Would you know what to do with the paperwork or how to fill it out or process it properly if you represent yourself?

A long list of rules and regulations applies to the completion and processing of legal documents. If you miss one step or a deadline, you could put yourself and your case in jeopardy resulting in further punitive measures. Seasoned criminal attorneys know the ins and outs of legal documentation, how to complete it, when to submit it, and where the paperwork goes. Unless you study law, you probably wouldn’t know the details behind legal paperwork.

Investigations, Bonds, and Negotiations

While you have been charged with a crime, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will face the full extent of the law. If you are equipped with a seasoned defense lawyer or criminal attorney, they will know how to negotiate for an outcome that you would be more satisfied with than trying to win your own case. From meeting with police and knowing what you should or shouldn’t say to investigating your case and how they can get you a negotiable and satisfactory outcome, an attorney is your best bet.

From negotiating bonds and plea bargains to representing you in an actual trial, your defense attorney will know every legal step to help you against the opposing lawyer. If you choose to represent yourself, the odds of being able to negotiate a plea bargain or reasonable bond before heading into arraignment and/or trial are slim.

Case Focus

When you choose to represent yourself, you’re choosing to be both the client and the attorney for your case. Carrying out a dual role in court can make it difficult to maintain focus.

While you’re speaking with the judge, you’ll also be attempting to convince a jury. This could lead to frustration and a lack of focus on where you’re at in the court proceedings and your case. Remaining calm and effective in your defense may prove difficult in this scenario. If you had an attorney, you could focus on being calm and collected just as the client. Opting to represent yourself means you have to be calm, cool, collected, and focused at all times.

Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew L. Schwartz

If you have been charged with a crime in Georgia, look no further than Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew L. Schwartz.

Dedicated to defending the rights and freedom of those accused of serious felony or misdemeanor crimes, Schwartz will take the time to out-prepare the prosecution and explain the criminal law process to you every step of the way.

Contact Andrew L. Schwartz today for a no-obligation, free legal consultation.

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