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6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Represent Yourself in Court

Lawyer speaking on the court stand

Don’t Defend Yourself in Court. Retain a Lawyer Instead.

Few things are riskier than representing yourself in court. Hiring a bad attorney is one of them. After getting a traffic ticket, you may think to yourself “I’m going to fight this myself” or “I didn’t do anything wrong. The officer is out of their mind!”

Many people choose to fight their traffic ticket instead of paying it, but in order to do so successfully, they need a proven NY traffic ticket attorney on their side. People falsely believe that their ticket will sort itself out, or they can fight for their best interests in front of a judge by themselves. However, without qualified legal counsel, their chances of achieving a favorable outcome can dramatically decrease.

Thus, it’s important to examine the consequences of self-representation in court.

  1. You don’t fully understand traffic laws and court rules: You must follow countless regulations and court procedures when representing yourself, and if you forget something or make a mistake, a judge will not help you or “feel bad.”
  2. You can make self-incriminating statements: No matter how many times you’ve received a traffic ticket and successfully fought it, you are still prone to making self-incriminating statements. Prosecutors are trained to strategically ask questions to get the answers they want from a defendant. Without a lawyer representing you, you may fall for the prosecutor’s incriminating tactics and say things that could hurt your case.
  3. You lack courtroom experience: Let’s say you educated yourself on traffic laws and courtroom procedures to prepare for your case absent an attorney. As confident as you may feel, your knowledge is no match for the prosecutor; their legal experience, competence and skills outweigh yours. Further, you may not know how to interview witnesses, present and object to the admission of evidence, argue motions and give opening and closing statements, among others.
  4. Lawyers and judges may have a bias: It’s uncommon for defendants to defend their case without a lawyer. As such, a judge, prosecutor and jury may develop a bias. Although bias is prohibited in the court system, you must remember that they are human and may perceive your self-representation as carelessness.
  5. No one will help you: Despite thinking that judges and court staff will give you some tips and guidance as you represent yourself, they won’t. Court clerks are legally prohibited from evaluating your case and helping you strategize defenses, and they won’t help you fill out forms. The only help you may receive is getting a thorough explanation of your legal rights from a judge. Besides that, you’re on your own.
  6. Your chances of getting convicted are higher: As a result of the five points listed above, your likelihood of getting convicted can drastically increase should you choose to represent your case without an attorney. There are countless advantages of having an experienced NY traffic ticket attorney in your corner, and countless issues with handling your case alone.

If you’re still wondering why a New York traffic lawyer is necessary to handle your case, we welcome you to contact (212) 235-1525 to learn more during a free consultation!

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