When seeking to hire an attorney, the prospect of representing yourself in court can be an enticing one.
There are a few different reasons for this, but one of the most prominent is, quite simply, cost. Hiring an attorney can be a very expensive task, and simply taking the option to represent yourself may seem like a good way to save some money.
This is even more tempting when you plan to just admit to the misdemeanor or felony that you’re accused of. This may make it seem like an attorney isn’t necessary, as you may feel fine with accepting whatever is thrown at you.
This is not a good idea, for a variety of reasons.
First of all, hiring an attorney has some major benefits that may not be immediately obvious to you. Attorneys have the knowledge and the power to take a penalty handed down to you by a court of law and negotiate it down to something more manageable and less intrusive to your life. It may be difficult to accept this, but an attorney just has a better chance of reducing your sentence or even having the charges dropped. Furthermore, because the law can be like a maze to people who do not know how to navigate it, there may be some rather obvious defenses on the table that you do not even realize. An attorney will know which ones to use, and it may work out in your favor.
If you’re considering the prospect of representing yourself, definitely reconsider and instead think about getting an appointed public defender. Their lawyers tend to get a bad reputation in the courtroom, but it is often better to accept the counsel of a public defender than to go with a cheap exclusive counsel. While public defenders are often overworked and frequently have enormous caseloads to handle, they are mostly good attorneys who can’t really afford to be bad at their jobs due to the oversight of the head district attorney.
Before you decide to represent yourself, consider all of your options. You can shop around for a good lawyer who is within your price range, or you can go the public defender route. Both of these options tend to be far better ones than representing yourself. The law is a complicated beast; you will need the help of experienced people to tame it.
Extra penalties might not seem like much to someone who is just trying to pay a penance and move on with their life, but it is important not to underestimate the good things an attorney can do for you in the courtroom. You could have your sentence lessened or eliminated completely.
An attorney can make all the difference; he or she just needs the opportunity to do so. Weigh your options and choose what’s right for you; just remember that representing yourself is almost never a good option for someone not experienced in the courtroom.