If you've been charged with a criminal offense, don't try to represent yourself. While you do have the right to self-representation, you'll be better served by hiring a professional attorney. If you can't afford an attorney, don't let that stop you from getting the representation you need. Request that you be assigned a public defender. If you still think you can provide your own adequate self-representation, here are four reasons why you might want to think again.
You Don't Understand the Charges Against You
While there are some charges that are pretty basic, such as petty theft, there are others that are more complex. If you don't understand the charges against you, it's not a good idea to try and represent yourself. You're going to need an attorney who can explain the charges to you, and how they can affect your life.
You're Facing Jail Time
If you're facing jail time as a result of the charges against you, don't try to represent yourself. This is particularly important if you're looking at the possibility of a lengthy sentence. There may be ways to get the charges reduced, which would mean less jail time, or none at all. Unfortunately, if you try to represent yourself, you might not know how to go about getting your charges reduced.
You Have Evidence That Would Help You
If you've got evidence that would reduce the charges, or prove your innocence, and you don't know how to get that evidence introduced into court records, you need an experienced criminal law attorney. It's not always easy getting evidence introduced into court. The last thing you want is to get convicted of a crime you didn't commit because you weren't able to get your evidence introduced.
You Need a Private Investigator
If there were witnesses who aren't coming forward, or evidence that you can't locate, you're going to need a private investigator. Unfortunately, their services can be expensive. If you can't afford to hire one out of your own pocket, the witnesses and evidence you need may never be discovered. That's where a criminal defense attorney will be beneficial to your case. A criminal defense attorney will have the resources available to secure a private investigator to help with your case.
If you're facing criminal charges, don't try to represent yourself. You need a criminal defense attorney to represent you in court. If you can't afford an attorney, request to have one assigned to you.