The simple fact is that not very many defendants choose to represent themselves in court if they have been charged with a criminal act. The large majority of defendants will ultimately hire a lawyer to help them navigate through the legal process, especially if their charge could result in a jail or prison sentence. Aside from the fact that “everyone else does it”, there are some very good reasons why you should consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer:
- Help you navigate the gap between books and the real world. Many defendants who choose to represent themselves find themselves stuck in the gap between what they’ve read in books and what is actually practiced in the real world. Reading up on the subject will help a defendant’s understanding, but a practicing attorney will be able to apply his or her experiences in law to address unpredictable developments.
- Prosecutors are usually unwilling to negotiate with self-represented defendants. Your defense lawyer can be much more effective at negotiating deals with prosecutors in terms of lesser charges or a reduced sentence.
- A lawyer can provide reassurance to their client that a self-represented defendant cannot give themselves. Dealing with a criminal charge can be emotionally draining, kill your self esteem, and result in anxiety. Defendants will need a “rock” who they can depend on throughout the process.
- Lawyers are accountable for giving clients an idea of a realistic outcome from various standpoints and legal options because they have experience in what could happen.
- Most of all, a criminal defense lawyer will be familiar with unwritten rules that a self-represented defendant will not be. Lawyers know what can appeal to certain prosecutors, or even community pressures that can occur.