6 Risks of Serving as Your Own Defense
With all of the time and preparation involved in hiring and organizing your criminal defense case with a lawyer, you may be wondering if it would be an easier and better idea to just serve as your own representation in court. After all, people are seen doing it in movies and TV shows all the time – why can’t you do it in real life?
Here’s the short answer: serving as your own defense in the courtroom is never a good idea. There are many, many possible risks involved if you decide to be your own lawyer and do not consult with a professional for legal guidance. Below are six reasons why you shouldn’t serve as your own representation, and instead hire a criminal defense attorney.
1. You Don’t Have Knowledge of the Law
You most likely do not have years of law school and courtroom experience under your belt. Even if you do, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are equipped to defend yourself against the crime you are being charged with. Lawyers often consult other lawyers (not to mention have lawyers of their own) because there are a lot of laws, and it would be impossible to memorize and understand the nuances of them all. In order to present the best case for yourself, it is crucial that you enlist the help of a professional attorney.
2. You Don’t Know Courtroom Procedures
Another risk involved with representing yourself in court is the fact that you don’t know basic courtroom procedures. Aside from the actual laws that your case will be debating, the courtroom itself has hundreds of rules around how the case will proceed, the juror selection, scheduling, and more. Again, an experienced criminal defense attorney will already know all of this – they know the ins and outs of the courtroom, and will be able to fight for you at their full capacity.
3. The Other Party Will Have a Lawyer
When faced with criminal charges, you should always want the best defense possible for yourself because, if for no other reason, the opposing party will. Their lawyer, with years of schooling and experience, will likely present a better case than you will on your own. Oftentimes (just like in the movies) lawyers have hundreds of laws and loopholes memorized, and can easily work up counterarguments against your defense. Without a criminal defense attorney on your side, you won’t be equipped to fight back.
4. You Will Not Be Able to Fill Out the Mountain of Paperwork
Courtroom dramas often skip the grueling hours of paperwork that lawyers have to fill out after every courtroom procedure. There are meticulous rules and tight deadlines surrounding the various forms and reports you will have to submit for your defense, and courtroom officials will not be looking over your shoulder to remind you of them. A competent lawyer will be able to speed through the mountain of legal paperwork involved in your court case with no trouble at all.
5. Your Emotions Will Get in the Way
It’s stressful going to court. It’ll be even more stressful when you’re going to court and serving as your own defense. It will be tough hearing the case against you from the opposing side. During the trial, you may not be able to think logically and put reason over emotion – combine this with the high chance that you’ll be nervous presenting your argument in front of the courtroom, and your argument will be greatly damaged. An experienced attorney will be able to separate emotion from rhetoric, and will be able to calmly debate whatever the opposing side throws at you.
6. The Judge Will Not Tolerate Your Lack of Knowledge About the Law
The biggest risk involved with serving as your own defense is that the judge presiding over your case will not baby you – in fact, they won’t tolerate your inexperience with the law at all. As the judge, they treat both parties equally, and expect the highest degree of professionalism from both. The judge, along with other courtroom officials such as the court clerk, is not allowed to give any legal advice to you – this means you’ll receive no coaching on what to say next.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in New York and New Jersey
Even out the playing field and strive for success with help from a professional criminal defense attorney. Mario Gallucci of The Gallucci Law Firm has over 30 years of experience in Criminal Defense and Litigation and has handled and won some of the largest and most difficult cases in New York, New Jersey, and the Federal Courts. Always putting client integrity and morals first, Mario Gallucci will work with you to develop a personalized strategy for a winning court case. Enlist the help of the best defense and contact The Gallucci Law Firm today.