Tips to Self-Representation in a Criminal Offence

Posted on: 30 October 2017

Being caught by a law enforcement officer on the wrong side of the law might land you in jail or have you slapped with a hefty fine. However, if you want to avoid jail time or penalties, then getting a criminal lawyer to argue your case is the best option. That said, hiring a lawyer to represent you costs money, and if you do not have one, then you are left with a court-appointed attorney. If you are unlucky and find that these two options do not work in your favor, then self-representation is an option you can take. If you have to, this article provides a few crucial tips that you can use to increase your chances for a fair trial. 

Learn the Law -- The first step to self-representation in court is to understand the law. While you might not know anything about law, the fact that you already know your charges is a starting point. Local libraries have a plethora of information on various legislations; therefore, you should take advantage of such facilities. Government websites are also excellent resources because when laws of the land are updated the same is done on these sites. Showing up in court with updated information might work to your advantage. The main take-home point from this tip is to focus solely on what you have been charged with.

Learn the Lingo -- As most criminal lawyers would tell you, knowing what you are talking about accounts for about 20% of a lawyer's job. If you stand before a court of law and start arguing the wrong things, then people, including the magistrates, will believe that you are wasting their time. It is despite the fact that judges are supposed to be impartial. For instance, referring to the prosecutor, as "my gentleman or friend" will have everyone on the court thinking you're a joke. Instead, using terms such as "the prosecution" or "sir/madam" is preferable and interested parties will know you understand what you are talking about.

Remember your Audience -- Remember that once you decide to represent yourself in a court of law, the chances are that you have already created a narrative in people's minds that you are a know it all individual. Therefore, when you start moaning that the system has ganged up against you, then you are playing into that very narrative. Accord the magistrate and the jurors the respect they deserve because they are just carrying out their civic duty. Tailor your remarks and communicates humility at all times.   


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