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Why You Should Not Represent Yourself in a Criminal Case

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By: Michael Spence

If you have been charged with a crime you do have the right to invoke the sixth amendment which is the right to self representation, which means that you would be waiving your right to counsel. There are significant disadvantages for any person who entertains the notion of being their own counsel; these dangers are what we will try to address in this article. Criminal defense lawyers are trained for years within criminal case law and statues and many believe that it is wise to leave your criminal cases to the experts.

What are the risks of representing yourself?

There are so many precedents and legal jargon that it is almost impossible to think that you can maintain a productive trial and do a better job than the real criminal defense lawyers. You will also need to keep in mind that if you were to be representing yourself in a criminal trial that you could incur a higher legal cost in the long run such as if you lose your case you could face jail time which would mean loss of wages, loss of freedom. You will need to think monetary wise you would have to pay all of the legal cost that was associated with the criminal case such as the county government lawyer fees and court cost and any restitution that you may have to pay if the conviction stands.

All of the experts agree that if your court case is a criminal case you can ill afford to represent yourself you must contact a criminal law attorney and see what they can offer you. Many criminal defense lawyers will take payments for their services with a retainer to be due before the proceedings start. Also criminal attorneys may be backed with the time and money to have researchers who can find loop holes in the law that may help you win your criminal case.

If at this point you are still interested in representing yourself instead of using a legally trained criminal defense lawyer then you will also need to think about what type of punishment you are facing for the crime they have accused you of committing. Unless you’re criminal case is a federal case it may be hard to find out what the statistics are for this type of criminal act if you were to be convicted. You will need to contact a local criminal defense lawyer and set up a free consultation or you may want to try to talk to someone at the public defender’s office.


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Lawyer Legions Recognizes Terry Lavenstein, ESQ.

Over 40 years experience. Distinguished member of the Maryland State Bar Association and Federal Bar Association.

The article presented here is the opinion of the author. The opinions expressed in this blog are the sole opinions of the author and do not, in any form, reflect the legal advice or opinions of Lavenstein Law LLC. Lavenstein Law LLC does not co-author, nor promote the opinions, ideas, or statements published in this forum. Any information supplied in this forum is for editorial purposes only and should not be accepted as legal counsel provided by Lavenstein Law LLC. If you seek professional legal counsel in matters of criminal law, contact Lavenstein Law LLC. Lavenstein Law LLC is a criminal defense law firm in Maryland.

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