No. If you are charged with a crime, you need a good trial lawyer. There are some things that you will encounter great difficulty doing for yourself in the criminal justice system.
Many times, I have had the opportunity to observe cases where the person accused of a crime attempted to represent him or herself without a lawyer. In the law, the term for such a person is in propria persona, or pro per for short. It literally means "by one's self." Imagine trying to carefully strategize and win a game of chess when you don't even know the rules.
There are many important aspects of your criminal case that you can be crippled by attempting to handle the case by yourself without a good trial lawyer. I will only discuss two of these aspects so you can get an idea of the necessity of good representation.
The first aspect you are limited by is your ability to negotiate. The reason why a prosecutor won't negotiate with you is that you simply don't possess the credibility to sit down with an adverse lawyer and discuss the merits of how your case will be viewed by a judge or jury. The prosecutor knows that you don't know what you are doing. The prosecutor is not going to haggle over legal issues with a nonlawyer, let alone the accused defendant. You don't have the respect that is earned by the fact that you can go to trial and win.
Prosecutors can be very cynical. In my experience, one of the best ways to get prosecutors to listen is to convince them that there is a real risk that they may not be able to win at trial. For legal reasons a judge may not let them introduce certain evidence at trial, or an element of the crime charged may be weak. Prosecutors are much more apt to acknowledge these potential problems in your case if they are brought to the prosecutors' attention by an experienced trial lawyer who has earned their respect.
The second aspect that you are severely limited by when you aren't represented by a good trial lawyer is the ability to effectively present your case and prevail at trial. If you want to win at trial, you need a good trial lawyer. All the evidence in your favor does little good if you can't get it admitted. You wouldn't go to a professional boxing match thinking you could climb into the ring, throw a lucky punch and walk away with a title belt. The reality is that you would probably walk away in need of medical attention, if you walked away at all. Attempting to try a criminal case where your freedom is at stake without a good trial lawyer may end very badly for you. There is an old saying that gets kicked around courtrooms that goes, "Anyone who represents himself in court has a fool for a client and an ass for an attorney."
There are so many facets of a criminal case that a good trial lawyer can help you with. I have explained only two. When you, or someone you love, are facing criminal charges it is also of great value to have the peace of mind that your case, or your loved one's case, is being handled by an experienced professional who can achieve the best possible result.
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