Seek legal advice before deciding to face criminal charges on your own
Facing criminal charges is a scary ordeal. You will have a chance to defend yourself in court against the charges, but if you are convicted you could spend time in jail and face other penalties. Before you decide to take on the task of representing yourself in court, you should consider all of your options – and their consequences.
Criminal convictions have lasting consequences
The most obvious consequences of a criminal conviction are the jail time, fines and other penalties that the court can impose on you. However, the official penalties aren’t the only consequences of a criminal conviction.
Having a conviction on your record can limit your opportunities in many facets of your life. For example, it can make it much more difficult to find a job, to get accepted to institutions of higher learning, to obtain scholarships, to get a loan and more.
Hiring an attorney is worth the price
Many people decide to try to represent themselves in criminal matters – especially if they are facing misdemeanor charges rather than felonies. They decide that risking the relatively low penalties that they might face upon conviction is worth the money they can save by not paying an attorney.
However, rates of success among people who represent themselves in court are worryingly low, especially when compared with rates of success among those who hire an attorney. An attorney can increase your odds of defeating criminal charges considerably.
Going through the criminal justice process involves many complex steps, such as strict filing deadlines and requirements for the structure and formatting of documents filed with the court. An experienced attorney has dealt with this process many times before, and can handle the clerical aspects of your case much more quickly and efficiently than you might be able to yourself – especially if it is your first time appearing in court.
Facing criminal charges is not easy. Having an experienced attorney at your side can make the process go as smoothly as possible, and can greatly increase your chances of defeating the charges.