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Representing Yourself in Court Can be a Terrible Mistake

As an American citizen, you have the right to representation by a lawyer during all portions of the prosecution and criminal justice process. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, failure to exercise this right can be a huge mistake. There are many steps between the police’s questioning, your arrest, and your criminal trial at which law enforcement may mislead or lie to you in an attempt to get you to confess to the crime. During this process, you also need to be able to develop a defense strategy that makes full use of all available evidence that shows your innocence. An experienced criminal defense attorney is the greatest asset you can have while you have a pending criminal charge because he or she can guide you through what to say, what not to say, and craft a strong defense for your case.

Proceeding Pro Se

When an individual navigates the legal system without aid from an attorney, he or she is considered to be proceeding pro se. This is certainly an option, but it often results in the defendant being convicted and facing the full penalties for the offense.

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer

The overarching reason why you need to work with a criminal defense lawyer is that you do not have an intimate understanding of the criminal justice process in the way that one does. You can read about what to say and do on the internet and you can discuss your case with friends, but when you enter the courtroom without an experienced attorney, you are at a significant disadvantage compared to the others in the room. If you did not go to law school, you do not have the skills to effectively assess the strength of the case, to write a strong motion or counterclaim, or to negotiate with a prosecutor using your understanding of the case’s strength.

With a fairly minor charge, like a traffic violation, it can make sense to go to court on your own. With this type of charge, you are only facing a fine and perhaps a few points on your driver’s license. There is no threat to your liberty or your future opportunities with a speeding or other minor traffic charge. When you are facing a criminal charge, the stakes are much higher. Saying the wrong thing or presenting yourself in an unflattering light in court can hurt your case, resulting in you having to spend time in jail, pay steep fines, or face other criminal penalties like probation or having to pay restitution.

Work with a Miami Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you have the right to have an attorney defend your case. Use that right. To get started on your case’s defense with an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney, contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today to schedule your free initial consultation with a member of our team.

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