If you are charged with a crime, you have the right to hire an attorney. If you can show that you can’t afford one, a public defender will be appointed to you. However, you may be wondering what happens if you are charged with a crime and can afford an attorney, but don’t want to spend the money on one. Can you represent yourself? Here are some things you need to know if you find yourself in such a situation.
Can You Defend Yourself Against the Law?
Yes. The sixth amendment gives you the right to hire an attorney, but it also gives you the right to represent yourself. The legal term for representing yourself is pro se.
How Do You Become Your Own Lawyer?
After you are arrested for a crime, you will be arraigned. During your arraignment, a judge will ask you if you have an attorney or will be hiring one. If you can’t afford an attorney and wish to have one, now is the time to ask the courts for one. If you wish to represent yourself, now is also the time to make that clear. It is important to note that you can change your mind at any time up until your trial begins.
If you are considering representing yourself, it is still always best to consult with a lawyer. They can tell you what the worst case scenario is for the charges you have been charged with. You may not realize the severity of the charges until you speak with a lawyer. If you are facing severe penalties, you may want to consider retaining an attorney.
What Are the Benefits to Being Your Own Lawyer?
The biggest benefit to being your own lawyer is that you don’t have to pay a lot of money to an attorney. If you are a first time offender and the penalties you are facing for your crime are not severe, you may wish to represent yourself and save some cash.
The other benefit to being your own lawyer is that you have full control over your case. When you hire a lawyer, you two may not see eye-to-eye on what witness to call, what evidence to introduce, and whether you should take the witness stand. If you want to control the situation, being your own lawyer can help you with that.