Pro se legal representation is a Latin term translating to “on behalf of themselves.” This refers to being one’s own advocate in court as opposed to having a lawyer as a representative. There are a variety of reasons individuals opt to go this route. The following situations may lead some defendants to make the choice to nix legal counsel and go it on their own:
Factors that lead to self-representation
- Financial concern is typically at the top of the list. While it may seem like the best way to save yourself thousands of dollars, it’s unwise to represent yourself in court.
- Some defendants have had a poor experience with a lawyer in the past and feel they can do a better job on their own. Every case and lawyer is unique. Basing your current decision on a past experience is not wise.
- Even defendants who can afford legal representation may choose forego it as they believe the punishment is not harsh enough to justify the expense. However, in a legal proceeding there can always be unforeseen events that come up where an attorney’s expertise would be crucial.
- Certain sentences do not vary and a defendant may realize that hiring a lawyer will not change the end result. Again, this is based on everything going exactly as expected. Any deviation in the proceedings can dramatically raise the stakes.
- Some feel that they are better off representing themselves as they detest lawyers and feel they are part of an oppressive system they refuse to be a part of. In common parlance we call this “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” It’s better to be a free citizen walking the streets thanks to a lawyer than sitting in a cell or struggling to pay a heavy fine due to one’s misguided disdain for the legal system.
Experience is valuable
There is a reason it takes so many years to become a qualified lawyer. The vast knowledge and experience gained throughout the entire trial process is not to be underestimated. Going it alone against individuals who live and breathe the law can definitely be a daunting task.
Consider the possible punishment
Prior to deciding you don’t require legal representation, it is vital to understand the intricate nature of your specific case. If convicted, what is the maximum punishment you are up against? The harsher your punishment may be, the more important it is that you navigate these waters with the guidance of a qualified lawyer.
What may start out as an ego-controlled decision could potentially cost you years of your freedom and more money than you anticipated. Alternatively, you may end up with the opposite outcome you desire such as loss of child custody or having to pay your spouse an exorbitant amount of support.
Protect your future
Hiring a lawyer or being appointed one can save you in the long run. Minor offenses may at first seem like no big deal. Minor motor vehicle crimes that lead to increased insurance rates may unfortunately seem insignificant to some. However, a criminal record looks much different if future infractions occur. Think about the repercussions of self-representation if you potentially traverse down the same road in the future.
Be smart, hire a lawyer
The outcome of your court proceedings will influence you for the rest of your life. It can be easy to get caught up in the immediate drama of the situation and not clearly be able to see how these factors may determine your future. A lawyer experienced in your situation can remain objective and give you options you may not have considered.
If you are in need of legal representation, contact Meek Law Firm today. Attorney Jonathan Meek has assisted many people with their legal needs and he can help you as well. Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to schedule a consultation appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.