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Self-Representation vs. Hiring a Lawyer

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you have the right to an assistance of counsel. This means that you are legally allowed to be represented by an attorney throughout the duration of your case. However, the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution indicates that you may also represent yourself – in legal terms, act “pro se” – IF you are able to justify your reasons for choosing self-representation to a judge.

Common reasons for self-representation:

  • Your salary is too high to qualify for free legal representation and yet too low to afford a good lawyer.
  • You have a deep distrust of lawyers, due to previous negative experiences or your own personal beliefs.
  • You believe that the maximum penalty for your crime does not justify the expense of hiring a lawyer.
  • You believe that you have a sufficient amount of knowledge of your state’s legal system and court proceedings to represent yourself successfully.

Although we understand why you might want to defend yourself in a court of law, in most cases it is best to hire a lawyer instead. A professional attorney has specialized training on general law as well as law that is specific to their service area. He or she will also have a more objective view of your case than you can have, as well as far more experience defending people in court.

A professional attorney may also have built relationships and a reputation that will strengthen your position in court. When a judge knows that the defense can be trusted, he or she may feel more comfortable giving a defendant the benefit of the doubt.

Most judges will advise you to hire an attorney if you say that you plan on representing yourself. This advice is based on their experience in the courtroom.

Our highly trained and experienced attorneys are here to address any of your legal questions or concerns and to defend you to the best of our ability. Contact the Byrnes Law Firm today!