Self Representation in Court: Top Mistakes

If you’re representing yourself in court without the help of a lawyer, you’re taking the risk of making fatal mistakes that can hurt instead of help you. A lawyer knows all the intricacies of the law system as well as the processes of court proceedings and how to put together a sound case.

What are some common mistakes an individual might make when representing themselves, also known as pro se?

Relying Too Heavily on the Internet

The internet can be a great tool, but it can also be harmful due to the amount of false information. If you base an argument based on incorrect or faulty information, you could be hurting your case and appear unreliable. Mastering and truly understanding the legal system takes years of practice and education. The advice and support of an experienced attorney are unmatched by internet research.

Not Responding to Requests for Admissions

Requests for admissions are facts given to the opposing party for them to either confirm or deny. These facts have a lot of power and can easily sway a case. If you fail to respond to those requests within the allowed time limit, then your answers will not be recorded. Not answering vital questions from the other side can greatly hurt your defense.

Relying on Emotions

The in-court litigation process can be rather emotional. Emotions can run high and you can start to lead with how you feel rather than rational, which easily leads to bad decision making and coming off in a different way than you may want. Your argument will be more highly valued if you speak based on facts and legality rather than how you are feeling.

A lawyer is able to conduct an effective cost-benefit analysis when making decisions in the courtroom, while a self-represented litigant is usually not able to.

Not Being Fully Prepared

Most individuals often underestimate the time, effort, and strategy it takes to effectively prepare for a court case. There are many vital steps one must take, and if you’re not extremely familiar with the legal system, it’s easy to miss out on a lot of important ones. Some people decide to simply “wing it” when appearing in court, and this puts them at a great disadvantage.

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The best thing you can do for yourself when charged with a crime is to hire a lawyer who will fight for you. You may think going to court without a lawyer will be easiest and less expensive, but the consequences can be enormous and the price you have to pay may be much bigger.

For an exceptional criminal defense attorney in San Antonio, TX, we encourage you to reach out to our law firm for a free consultation.

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