Deciding not to hire legal counsel for representation is a serious, misguided decision and should not be taken lightly. Defending oneself “pro se” (without an attorney) might prove less expensive in the short term, but heavy legal repercussions could be something one would later regret. While it might not be necessary to retain counsel for lesser matters, such as a minor speeding ticket, with higher offenses come higher sentences and more complex legislation.
When you hire an attorney, you’re not simply paying for someone to speak in court on your behalf. You’re paying for the aptitude of a professional whom has spent many years working in conjunction with the justice system to handle cases, just like your own, to the highest benefit of the client. You’re paying for a person who knows how to structure motions, trials, and appeals in greatest accordance with court room procedure.
In the information age, a recent trend has occurred of people attempting to defend themselves in court. The misguided belief that most legal knowledge can be gained effortlessly through web and library browsing leads many people to believe they can be their own lawyer.
This logic comes with two unavoidable flaws. The first flaw is the belief that knowing the law is the only requirement for being a lawyer. Even if you are fully aware of all of the case law involved with your matter, you may be unaware of how to apply circumstances during trials and hearings, like plea bargaining for example, or you may run into serious issues when performing witness cross-examination and evidence analysis.
The second flaw is the belief that legal precedence and current legislation are easily available. Upon entering the search, “Is Driving Barefoot Illegal in Arizona?”, there are a multitude of different answers from a multitude of different people. While many people state correctly that, “No, driving barefoot is not illegal in Arizona”, there are quite a number of dissenting opinions and very little legal authority on either side. While legality of the conduct in your case is most likely not a point of contention, the above is a simple example to show that even irrelevant legal questions with definitive answers become enshrouded in ignorant mystery on the internet.
While some judges may display leniency with regards to procedural knowledge in cases where the indicted choose to defend themselves, the State will always present a legal expert in charge of your prosecution. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to hire the same in your defense. Never forget that you have the constitutional right to an attorney, and if you can not afford one, you can be represented by a court appointed attorney.