It is no secret that criminal defense attorneys are expensive, with many charging a minimum hourly fee of $150. However, the expense is no reason to rest your defense on your own shoulders. Too many defendants believe they are capable of arguing their case despite a lack of legal knowledge or experience. Before you go down the misguided path of being your own counsel, consider the four reasons you shouldn’t.
1. Lack of Objectivity
As a defendant, you have opinions about your case that may not be based in reality. You may also have feelings about why the charges against you are not appropriate. Unfortunately, emotional argumentation will not sway a jury or the judge. Also, being prone to emotional outbursts and editorializing is likely to get much of your argument thrown out. There are decorum rules in court, which means that it is no place for emotional outbursts. An attorney can be more objective about your case and present legal arguments for your defense.
2. Inadequate Knowledge of the Law and Legal Procedures
What is your legal experience? Do you have prior courtroom engagements? Do you understand the intricacies of criminal law? Any lack of knowledge in these critical areas will hinder your defense. Beyond courtroom exchanges, the justice system is a bureaucracy, which means it is organized by deadlines and paperwork. When arguing a criminal case, you will need to adhere to the timeline. Failure to file parts of your case on time can have detrimental repercussions.
3. Limited Connections, If Any
How many lawyers have you had the pleasure to interact with and argue against? Are you familiar with the different demeanors of each judge in a specific courthouse? Criminal defense attorneys spend a considerable amount of time around the prosecution and judges. They learn the strategies that prosecutors fall back on, and they understand how to argue before different judges based on their experience. If you do not have any connections, then you will struggle to argue a productive case.
4. No Courtroom Experience
Opening and closing statements are the times to make the biggest impression with juries. Organizing your thoughts and highlighting the essential parts of your argument are crucial, but you must do so in line with the guidelines of court proceedings. If you have no courtroom experience, then you will struggle, and juries may find it hard to believe or trust you.
When is your court date? Have you already faced arraignment? Contact a local lawyer, like a criminal lawyer from Hallinan Law Firm, to discuss your charges.