Should I Represent Myself In A Criminal Defense Case In California?Imagine this: you rolled out of bed thirty minutes late because you were up all night studying the law. You didn’t have time to make your daughter breakfast before school, and, on your way to work, you get a call saying that you must be in court in twenty minutes. This will be your third day off work because you must appear in court or meet with the opposing counsel. Yikes! You’re thinking, “This is too much of a headache. Should I have hired an attorney?” Well, here’s more on whether you or an attorney should represent you in a criminal defense case in California.
Do You Need Representation By An Attorney?
You are entitled to have counsel represent you in most criminal cases. You are also entitled to waive this right. But you can only waive this means of protection if you’re found competent. To be found competent, you must act:
- And in awareness of the consequences of this decision.
In other words, you do not technically need an attorney, but there are many benefits to having legal representation. The right to representation attaches when you’re either:
- charged with a felony;
- charged with a misdemeanor that requires jail time;
- appealing your case; or
- a juvenile delinquent
What Are The Benefits Of Having An Attorney?
If you hired an attorney, you wouldn’t have to deal with a lot of the issues mentioned above. Rather than spending hours upon hours studying legal jargon just so you can understand your case, your bar-certified California attorney will know the law, including what’s important in your unique situation. Your attorney will be the one up all night while you’re putting your child to bed or even spending a night out with friends. Remember, attorneys are professionals of the law who you pay to give you effective counsel.
Furthermore, if you’re too emotional, you may find it difficult to be objective and professional. Not only that, but when you are not represented, you go up against a prosecutor with potentially decades of experience. You could do yourself a lot of harm by going it alone. Fortunately, an attorney will act as a trained buffer between you and opposing counsel. An attorney will remember that this matter is about making the best case for you and protecting your freedom.
What Can Happen If I Represent Myself?
If you choose to represent yourself, you are putting yourself in the role of an attorney. You will be expected to do and handle every procedure as an attorney would. You must file motions on time and correctly. You must send affidavits on time and accurately. You must respond to the opposing counsel’s questions adequately and timely. You’re at greater risk of losing your case—and possibly serving jail or prison time—if you miss any of these steps or do them poorly.
How Do I Acquire An Attorney?
If you cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be appointed to you. Yet, because public defenders are often overbooked and, thus, often unable to devote as much time to your case as you may like, hiring an experienced California criminal defense attorney is advisable. There is a multitude of benefits, most importantly being your increased chances at avoiding a conviction. Consider hiring a law firm that has criminal defense experts. Once you feel confident that you’ve chosen the right law firm, you’ll sign a retainer, and an attorney will begin defending you and protecting your rights. My Rights Law is a skilled criminal defense firm that can defend and protect you.
You Don’t Have To Be The One To Pay For Your Attorney
A relative, such as your parents, can pay for your attorney. If you believe that you have a convincing case against the state or that your case is complex, it’s worth seeing whether a third party can pay for your attorney. However, this third party is not entitled to know anything about your case. They are not entitled to meet with your attorney or be present during your meetings with your attorney.
California Criminal Defense Lawyers
The attorneys at My Rights Law – Criminal & DUI Attorneys have extensive experience protecting the rights of the accused in criminal cases. We can help you understand what is at stake. Our lawyers will work tirelessly to protect your rights and defend you in your criminal case. If you have been charged with a crime in California, call (888) 702-8882 or contact us online for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys.