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Five Good Reasons Not to Represent Yourself in Criminal Court

Representing yourself in court? Understand that the odds are against you, say criminal defense attorneys in Gainesville.

You’ve watched a lot of Law & Order, you know what happened better than anyone, and hey – you’re not exactly a millionaire. So when you find yourself facing criminal charges, why fork out all that money for a criminal defense lawyer, Gainesville? Why not represent yourself?

Actually, there are five very good reasons why representing yourself in a criminal court is a very bad idea:

  1. You don’t get a second chance at arraignment: Many defendants in criminal cases try to handle their arraignments themselves, figuring that they’ll hire a lawyer if they get a bad bail deal. Trouble is, judges routinely set bail at arraignment and, if you or your family can’t cover it quickly, you’re taken into custody immediately.
  2. Judges can be impatient: Your judge likely has a huge caseload and only so many hours in the workday. He won’t tolerate defendants who mistakenly believe they understand the law, or who lack knowledge of courtroom and legal lingo. Plus, the opposing attorney likely has been before your judge dozens, even hundreds of times and knows the judge’s preferences, nuances, and hot points.
  3. Paperwork and policies: There are multiple documents required in a criminal case, and a litany of legal procedures and courtroom policies Chances are, you’re not aware of half of it. A mistake as simple as missing a document deadline can get your case thrown out of court.
  4. Time is money: On a busy day in court, private attorneys and public defenders likely will get priority. Pro pers, as defendants representing themselves are called, typically get pushed to the back of the line. This can mean time away from work, and potentially lost wages for you while you attend to your case.
  5. Your chances of winning your case are slim: The statistics show that pro per defendants typically lose. And by the time defendants realize they’re in over their heads, it’s too late to backtrack and hire an attorney.

If you face criminal charges, your best bet is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Gainesville’s Law Offices of Edwards & Jones represents clients in Gainesville, Ocala, Lake City, Palatka and the surrounding areas in cases ranging from simple misdemeanors to major crimes. Contact us at (352) 329-3632 or complete our online form for a free consultation.