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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

The Risks of Trying to Represent Yourself in a Criminal Case

Posted on in Criminal Defense

illinois criminal defense representationSome local Illinois residents facing criminal charges attempt to handle their own case in court without the aid of a criminal law attorney. No matter what the rationale for trying to represent yourself may be, it is critical to understand the many pitfalls of this approach. The criminal justice system is quite complex, and every case requires a mix of legal expertise, procedural acumen, and familiarity with techniques of advocacy. As a result, it can be almost impossible for a defendant to navigate the system successfully without the guidance of an attorney.

In most cases, self-representation seems like the best option for financial reasons. When making these decisions though, it is critical to think long-term. What decision will best position you to get beyond the immediate challenges without loss of your freedom or permanent damage to your reputation? In many cases, protecting your future interests requires the experience, skill, and advocacy that only a criminal defense attorney can provide.

Common Reasons for Self-Representation

There are many reasons why criminal defendants may try to represent themselves in court instead of seeking out an attorney.

You may believe that your charge is minor or routine. All criminal charges must be treated seriously. Even a DUI or a traffic ticket can result in potentially serious penalties such as extensive fines, suspension of your driver’s license, or even time in jail. Also, just because a crime is “common” does not mean that the outcomes are pre-determined. Being charged with a crime is not a guarantee of conviction. Depending on the aggression of your defense, you may be able to avoid conviction altogether or plea down to a lesser charge. A defense attorney can explain the best options and aggressively fight to protect your future.

You may have had a bad experience with an attorney. Every criminal defense attorney is different. It is important that you develop a strong relationship with your advocate, trusting in their advice and feeling comfortable in being honest about your situation. Fortunately, there is a range of criminal defense attorneys from which you can choose. If you had a poor experience in the past, it is critical to look for a better match this time.

You may not believe you can afford a criminal defense lawyer. Hiring an attorney may seem like an unnecessary expense in an already stressful time, but few things are more valuable than your freedom. Talk candidly with an attorney about costs and determine whether investing in quality legal help now is the right choice. Securing proper advocacy is an investment in your future.

You may believe you need only explain your innocence, and the charges will be dropped. The State only brings criminal charges against defendants when it believes sufficient evidence exists for conviction. Therefore, simply telling your story is usually not enough to disprove their allegations. Mistakes and misunderstandings happen all the time. A defense attorney knows how to gather evidence to prove your innocence and present it in an effective way in court.

Contact a DuPage County Criminal Defense Attorney for Help

Facing criminal charges can be unpleasant, and having a dedicated attorney gives you an ally during the stressful process. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will protect your rights and help you receive the best possible outcome in your case. If you have been arrested or charged, do not hesitate to call 630-472-9700 to schedule a free consultation with Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. today. We work with individuals in DuPage County and in many nearby communities.

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