Some people who get charged with a crime get convinced they need to represent themselves. Maybe they feel they can’t afford legal representation, or maybe they feel the lawyer won’t have their best interests in mind. In any case, you might wonder if that’s something you should do. When you’re accused of a crime, is it a good idea to represent yourself?
Doing It Right
If you insist on representing yourself, you need to do it right. First, you should prepare all the evidence you need to prove your case. Next, you should look the part. Don’t ever show up to court or to any hearings in jeans and a t-shirt. Wear your nicest clothes. If that means you have to borrow a suit from a friend, do it. Finally, know where to go and when. Being late to court isn’t going to look good for you.
Not every person charged of a crime will be deemed competent enough to represent him or herself. You will need to pass a competency evaluation. The judge will look at your age, your familiarity with the English language, your level of education and how serious your alleged crime is. If the judge feels you are not competent to represent yourself, he or she will assign a lawyer to you. If the judge feels you are competent enough to represent yourself, you can go ahead and do so, though it is not recommended.
Hiring a Lawyer
Just because you’re competent and you have taken the correct steps to represent yourself, doesn’t mean you actually should. There are a lot of things a lawyer can do for you to ensure the best possible outcome. A criminal defense lawyer can:
- Uncover Evidence – Your lawyer has the resources to uncover evidence that you might not be able to uncover on your own. He or she may work closely with a private investigator or have some connections with others who can find what you need to succeed.
- Interview Witnesses – Lawyers know what to say and how to say it when dealing with witnesses. While a certain witness might not give up any information to you, he or she may feel comfortable giving a professional lawyer a complete account of what happened.
- Fight in Court – Fighting your case in court can be difficult. It could be easy for you to lose your cool when things don’t go your way. Having a lawyer by your side could help to keep the peace when people are accusing you of things that upset you.
Contacting a Lawyer Today
As you can see, it’s possible to represent yourself in a criminal case, but it’s not recommended, as a criminal defense lawyer, such as from Daniel J. Wright, can explain. If you were accused of a crime, contact a criminal defense lawyer to get proper representation today.