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Representing Yourself in Court

Posted by on Aug 14, 2019 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Not everyone has unlimited money to dish out toward excellent legal defense when they get into run-ins with the law. Hopefully, this is not an issue that a person finds themselves confronting often — if so, stop committing crimes!

However, if you find yourself facing a fine or imprisonment because of a mistake, you might be tempted to represent yourself in a court of law. This temptation can kind of make sense — nobody knows the situation as well as yourself, the person who did or did not commit the transgression!

In this article, I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages that can be garnered from representing yourself in court without the help of an expert legal professional. And finally, I will give you my advice regarding whether to hire legal counsel. But first:


One of the problems with litigation is the amount of paperwork required in interactions with lawyers. Legal types love to document as much as possible, so it makes sense why someone in the field would want to make sure the payments are documented, requests are put to paper, and every single fact about a case is recorded.

But one advantage of representing yourself in court, especially for smaller cases such as traffic violations, for example, is that you will not have to deal with so much of the paperwork or documentation that is necessary when dealing with a lawyer for even the smaller cases!

Another instance of having something to gain from representing yourself in court is not having to pay for a lawyer. However, legal representation is almost always worth it, as I will point out later. But I suppose that this could be considered a very basic advantage.


Simply put, your chance of going to jail or receiving harsh punishments for a simple crime is astronomically higher if you represent yourself in court. There are decorum, customs, rules, processes, and concepts that you or I do not even know about because we lack a legal education.

No amount of penny-pinching is worth offending a judge or jury on accident, fumbling your words, being unaware of a legal requirement, or doing something out of custom with the law. The stakes are so high — even in “smaller cases” such as traffic violations, if you make a big enough of a misstep the judge could throw the book at you and require onerous fines — this is rare for experienced lawyers like those at Horst Law but almost a given if you try to be your own lawyer.


Being an attorney is not a game of dress-up or cosplay! While finding a lawyer can be a task and nobody wants to put on any additional costs (such as legal fees), your life or financial security could be at risk if you forgo tradition and try to defend yourself.

By weighing the advantages and disadvantages of self-representation, I hope it is clear that you need to hire an experienced and professional legal counsel for any case, big or small.

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