Self-Representation and Why This May Not Be the Smartest Choice
There are many disadvantages to representing oneself in a criminal case.
There are many rights that are granted under the Constitution. The Sixth Amendment, in particular, gives people in California the empowerment to act as their own legal representative. However, Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute points out that a judge does have authority to grant or deny a person this right. It depends on the person’s ability to understand what he or she is doing. If people are deemed able to conduct their own defense, they should be aware that the law has changed considerably since this amendment was drafted. Therefore, representing themselves may not be the right choice.
Knowledge of court processes
Putting together a defense entails more than just drafting a strong argument and the collection of evidence. It also requires knowledge of court processes. People will need to acquaint themselves with how and when evidence should be submitted to the court, the filing of briefs and motions, and the etiquette required when they appear in court.
Attorneys usually have a staff of legal professionals to help them manage these deadlines and remind them of when certain documents are due. If people miss filing a specific form or document on time, it could affect the outcome of their case.
Understanding of the law
Whether people are facing a DUI or a charge for drug possession, it is important for them to remember that there are many facets to the law. A good attorney has not only spent four years in law school, but has attended countless continuing legal education courses. These courses help attorneys stay informed about the latest legal strategies and changes to existing laws.
From the moment that an investigation is initiated, every procedure used by investigators in the gathering of evidence is subject to rules and policies. Attorneys who handle criminal defense cases every day are aware of these guidelines and can use mistakes to negotiate for reduced charges or even a full dismissal.
When someone is charged with a serious crime like sexual assault, that person’s emotions automatically rise. According to the American Bar Association, this can put the person at a distinct disadvantage in an environment that does not make decisions in this way. Obtaining the assistance of a trained and experienced attorney can protect people from this risk. For example, people may be tempted to just plead guilty in order to make the whole ordeal come to an end, or people’s emotions may cloud their judgment, causing them to overlook important information.
The penalties that come with a criminal conviction are often severe and can impact people in Redding for a long time. Therefore, it may be in their best interests to discuss their situation with a knowledgeable attorney.