If you have been charged with a crime, hiring a lawyer to defend you is the best possible way to help yourself. Attempting to represent yourself is inherently risky, and there are many reasons why having a lawyer represent you in a criminal matter is better than trying to go it alone. Simply put, trying to save money or protect your pride are not reasons to put your future at risk.
Depending on the nature of the criminal charges, you may stand to lose much more than the cost of a lawyer. When your liberty and future is on the line, you need an experienced advocate to defend you and help you get the best possible outcome. If you attempt to defend yourself but misunderstand the law, you could land yourself in jail.
If you’re charged with a crime, your state of mind may already be compromised by stress and anxiety. Additionally, the law is complex, and the legal system can be confusing and hard to navigate. Every case has multiple, critically important deadlines and steps of pre-trial procedure. Missing just one of these can be devastating for your case.
You cannot act as your best advocate if you’re worried, overwhelmed, or uncertain. Even lawyers hire other lawyers to represent them when they need help in their own lives.
A lawyer will review your charges, and may be able to challenge them by arguing for a change or downgrade. There may also be an opportunity for negotiation before your trial occurs. Effective representation before a trial can make a difference for the trial itself, and for your results.
The government has the burden of proof in your case, but this does not mean that the defense has the easier job. Even if there is evidence against you, a skilled lawyer may be able to use the law and show insufficient proof exists to sustain a conviction.
You may have committed certain acts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are guilty under the law. A lawyer will consider all of the facts of your case and give you their professional advice regarding the best plea to make. It’s the lawyer’s job to know all of the potentially applicable defenses, and to argue them on your behalf.
Criminal defense lawyers often meet the same prosecutors in different cases, and have existing professional relationships that someone who tries to represent himself or herself simply does not have. That experience means a criminal defense lawyer may already know the prosecutor’s strategies and negotiation style, and can use that knowledge to benefit you. Hiring a lawyer to represent you can keep a difficult situation from becoming worse.