Should you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of being accused of a crime, but you know you are innocent, you may have considered representing yourself in a court of law. After all, if it seems all the evidence points in your favor it can be enticing to dive into it yourself. However, there are many reasons to hire a criminal defense attorney rather than tackling the case on your own. The most prominent five reasons include:
1. They have a strong understanding of the judicial system
One of the primary benefits to working with a legal expert committed to criminal justice is that they offer subject matter knowledge that comes from experience. This understanding of the judicial system means they know exactly how proceedings will occur, when to present evidence, when to call witnesses, and much more that the average person would not know.
2. Criminal defense attorneys have built relationships with prosecutors
Calling criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors’ friends may be a stretch, but they certainly develop a working relationship to an extent over the years. Your criminal defense attorney may have been in court with the prosecution before and, if they have a good relationship, may be more successful in reaching a settlement agreement.
3. They have experience with comparable cases to your own
Beyond a working knowledge of the criminal justice system, criminal defense attorneys have likely dealt with your exact charges before. This means they have experience making a case for innocence against those charges.
4. A criminal defense attorney can advise you of possible outcomes
Believe it or not, the rate of wrongful conviction in the United States is estimated to be between 2%-10%. Oftentimes, when people represent themselves, they believe the only options are jail or no jail. In reality, however, a criminal defense attorney can walk you through the different outcomes such as settlement, partial jailtime, and more which you may be unaware of and hence, not fighting for.
5. A criminal defense attorney can save you money
Finally, it may seem counterintuitive, but a criminal defense attorney can actually save you money. While you are paying a criminal defense attorney for their time, something you wouldn’t be doing representing yourself, you may lose the case. This means you may have to pay hefty fines in addition to more severe punishments. However, a criminal defense attorney can potentially win your case in court and get all charges dropped. If this occurs, you would be saved of paying thousands upon thousands of dollars in damages or other fees. Don’t settle for losing money when an effective attorney can argue your case on your behalf.
The Bottom Line
Trying to represent yourself in court is extremely difficult, even for straightforward cases. The legal jargon that arises in court is hard enough to understand, let alone trying to build your own case. Rely on the help of a certified and accredited criminal defense attorney who can have your back in the courtroom.