Should I Represent Myself?

What is the Sixth Amendment?

The sixth amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to an attorney and controls the right for one to represent themselves. Before you make the decision of self-representation you should be fully aware of what this entails.

Representing Yourself 

In order to represent yourself, referred to as Pro Se, you must knowingly and intelligently waive your right to counsel. This means that the defendant must be aware of the disadvantages of representing themselves. A judge can deny the request if they feel the defendant does not understand these dangers and appoint an attorney to the defendant.

What is Standby Counsel?

A standby counsel can be appointed to assist the defendant or be ready to take over the case. It is not the same as retaining an attorney. The standby counsel is to help the defendant follow the basic courtroom rules and procedures expected of attorneys. If a defendant disturbs trial proceedings the Judge can terminate the defendant’s self-representation.

Retaining a criminal attorney helps protect your right to a fair trial and fight against a potential conviction. A criminal conviction can have incredibly significant consequences such as jail/prison time, fines, and a permanent criminal record. Always consider all potential dangers when deciding to go Pro Se or not. Please feel free to call The Edgett Law Firm or visit our website www.EdgettLawFirm.com for more information on how we can help you through your legal ordeal.

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