Hiring a criminal defense attorney costs money. Because of this, you may consider handling your case by yourself or pro se. Although this can be a good idea, there are many benefits you can enjoy when you hire a Lento Law Firm attorney. Whether you are facing a disorderly person’s offense or an indictable crime, you should consider hiring an attorney to represent you. Before you represent yourself in criminal court, here are things you must know first:
Your Appearance in Court Can Your Last Chance to Defend Yourself
If criminal charges are filed against you, you can avoid a conviction at the trial. Thus, you want to make the most out of the trial by relying on the skills and experience of a defense lawyer. But if you prefer to represent yourself, remember that you only have limited grounds to file an appeal or seek post-conviction relief. And you may find it hard to find a lawyer who will help you file an appeal or post-conviction petition for you. And if you are thinking about possible expungement, keep in mind that not all crimes are eligible for expungement.
An Appeal is Not an Automatic Option after a Conviction
To file an appeal in criminal court, you should have grounds to do so. Also, you need to preserve such grounds during the trial. Knowing when and how to preserve appeal arguments is a vital trial skill and it takes years for a defense attorney to develop this. Unless you have a background in trial procedures and criminal law, you probably don’t know how to preserve appellate rights.
Prosecutors Take their Jobs Seriously
A lot of prosecutors in New Jersey are quite good at their jobs and their conviction records can prove this. When you handle your criminal case without an attorney, you will be at a serious disadvantage due to your lack of experience. Prosecutors may take advantage of your decision to go it all alone. They won’t go easy on you.
Trying a Criminal Case Involves Several Steps
Trying a New Jersey criminal case is not only about appearing in court and telling your side of the story. It involves many processes that require in-depth know-how of the court rules and the law in the related jurisdiction. For instance, handling your case on your own means you won’t be ready to handle matters like attending pretrial hearings, filing motions, choosing the jury, ensuring the admissibility of evidence, making objections, presenting your case, and others.