Many people facing criminal charges consider representing themselves. The primary reason for this is cost. Hiring an attorney can be expensive, and it is common to not have funds to hire a lawyer. It is possible to represent yourself, it is an option in any court case. But is it a good idea? Why do so many people feel so strongly that hiring a lawyer is necessary?
The short answer is that it is advisable to never represent yourself in a criminal matter. But only you can make that decision, after carefully weighing the risks.
If years in jail are on the line, it is important to consider that the possible consequence of not hiring a lawyer could mean you spend months, years, decades, or a lifetime in jail.
Our Brooklyn criminal defense attorneys are here to do everything we can to make sure that does not happen to our clients.
Civil Cases vs. Criminal Cases
You might not realize it, but any court case will be one of two types: civil, and criminal. Civil cases involving a disagreement between two individuals, or sometimes businesses, nonprofit organizations or schools. A car accident lawsuit is a common example of a civil case. A criminal case is different, it involves someone who is accused of committing a crime or breaking the law. In most cases, someone is arrested before the criminal case proceedings start. This article addresses representing yourself in a criminal case.
Violent crimes vs. Property Crime
Criminal charges can be divided up into violent crimes which include homicide, rape, robbery, assault, and various forms of abuse. Property crimes consist of non-physical crimes such as burglary, larceny/theft, and arson.
White-collar crimes are also included in this category. Most people that commit crimes do not have a thorough understanding of legal processes and procedures. Very few people who commit crimes consider the type of crimes they are committing and the legal ramifications before they actually commit the crime. If you do not understand the statutes that are enforceable and the required procedures, you will not be able to make arguments about them. Even if you have evidence, do you know how to present it?
Court Appointed Defense Attorneys
In criminal cases, the court will provide you a lawyer if you cannot afford one. You fill out an application and the court reviews your employment status, income, and financial obligations to determine if you qualify. If you do not qualify, the judge may give you time to hire a lawyer. However, these lawyers have limited time and resources. Some people who qualify for a public defender will scrape together money for the cheapest possible lawyer. These high volumes, low fee lawyers are going to be just as overburdened as public defenders.
When years in jail or hefty fines are on the line, a better option is a fair, experienced, and successful law firm that will treat you like their own family and give your case the attention it deserves. After all, your future is at stake.
Our Firm Has a Long History of Success
Bukh Law has a long history of success handling criminal defense cases in court. We know how to negotiate, present evidence, and make arguments in court. Our clients can be confident in our knowledge, skills and abilities. Please contact us for a free consultation.