In American law, defendants have the option of Pro Se (Latin for “on behalf of themselves”), meaning they represent themselves in a civil or criminal case. Although the practice is gaining popularity, the results are often disappointing. Pro Se defendants rarely win, and it’s easy to see why.
Attorneys spend three years at law school learning the ropes of the legal system. Even then, it takes years for someone to become familiar with the judge, objections, the jury, and forming questions. Here are just a few mistakes people using Pro Se representation fall into every day.
Defendants representing themselves will probably have a difficult time if their case requires jury selection. When choosing a case, attorneys consider jury picks based on the facts of the case, their defendant, and the jury members’ backgrounds.
An experienced attorney knows what’s allowed in court and what’s not. They know when someone is breaking the rules and will object accordingly. A Pro Se representative will find themselves caught completely off guard amid objections and nuanced legal terms. Moreover, someone defending themselves likely knows nothing about case law and exceptions to objections.
Presenting the Evidence
Attorneys are storytellers. They understand how to weave their client’s story through the witnesses and the evidence. Someone who has never asked questions in court will likely find themselves stumbling through examinations, failing to show their side of the story.
The Best Defense
If navigating examinations, objections, and case law sound difficult, that’s because it is. Pro Se defendants almost never win. The worst part is that many of these cases could be won if the defendant enlisted proper legal representation.
Attorneys spend a long time honing their skills so they can help others. Navigating the legal system is best left to the professionals.
If you’re facing criminal charges, you may want legal representation. If you’d like to go over your case with an experienced Boston criminal defense attorney from Brad Bailey Law to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (617) 500-0252.