Should anyone represent themselves in court?
People who are facing a court appearance in the near future but want to keep things simple and avoid attorney fees may choose to represent themselves in court. Their rationale is likely, “My case isn’t that complex, so why hire a lawyer? It can’t be that difficult.” While the law allows you to represent yourself in court, and plenty of people have done it, doing so is much more complicated than you think and opens the door to a myriad of potential problems.
In almost all cases, hiring a lawyer to represent you will ultimately save you time, money, and heartache in the long run.
Should anyone represent themselves in court? No. If you’re still not convinced, below are a few big reasons why:
Lack of knowledge.
Just because you believe you are in the right doesn’t mean that you have the knowledge or experience to take the right steps, obtain the right documents, or ask the right questions to get the information you need entered into evidence so that the judge or jury can consider the evidence in making its decision. Furthermore, some cases require expert testimony, third party witnesses, and/or statements from other officials — all of which may have special rules that must be followed to have the information admitted into evidence so that the information can be considered in the final decision. Lawyers are trained to know and understand the rules of civil procedure and the rules of evidence. These rules are in addition to the law on the subject matter that is applicable to your case.
You still have to pay certain court costs and filing fees, even if you represent yourself. While those can appear less expensive than hiring a lawyer, gaping financial pitfalls can emerge when you don’t know what you are doing. For example, you could fail to take some action timely that results in your case being dismissed by the court. The dismissal may end your case for good or require you to refile it again, occurring more costs.
It is nearly impossible to separate yourself emotionally from your own case so that you see both sides objectively. That can lead you to make poor choices in the courtroom, including the inability to recognize and adapt to weaknesses in your own case, all of which can cost you and your family financially. Having a lawyer who can create a compelling and objective argument gives you a distinct advantage.
You could incriminate yourself.
That sounds a bit extreme, but it could happen. Think about this: people who represent themselves in court have zero buffer between themselves and the judge or a jury. You could be arguing your case and mistakenly provide information that incriminates you and completely torpedoes your argument.
Legalese and form filling is not for everyone.
Even if you have some knowledge regarding the legal system and the myriad of paperwork that must be completed accurately and on time, you are bound to run into some issues that might delay the process or put you in a worse position.
Decreased odds of winning.
There have been plenty of people over the years who represent themselves in court and come out on top. But the odds that you will lose your case are actually much higher. Before you consider going at your case alone, consider if you really want to put that much faith in your ability to provide expert representation for yourself. There is an old saying, a lawyer who represents him or herself, has a fool for a client.
Call Nelson Law Group today!!
When it comes to your legal situation, you need an attorney who will guide you through each stage and work diligently to achieve a result that will give you peace of mind moving forward. The Nelson Law Group has nearly two decades of experience in family law, personal injury law, estate planning, and civil litigation. Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue.
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