“He who represents himself has a fool for a client” — Abraham Lincoln
Is it wise for a person to represent himself or herself when they are accused of committing a crime? The wise person says, “No.” The fool says, “Yes.” The age old wisdom of Lincoln is as true today as it was back then. Why? The simple answer is because a criminal defense attorney’s job is to protect a person and their rights from being trampled on by the Government when he or she is being accused of a crime. A person going it alone against the power and resources of the government simply doesn’t stand a fighting chance.
People today like to try to DIY (do-it-yourself) everything. They search the Internet and YouTube for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. However, the “DIY” philosophy, though good in many other aspects of life, is ill-advised when the problem is being accused of a crime and having to defend against it.
I cannot recall one client who ever “liked” having to hire an attorney, especially a criminal defense attorney. I get it, I wouldn’t want to either . . . it is an unexpected cost, an unanticipated expense . . . it can be expensive. But, when the government brings a charge against a person for breaking the law, that person’s freedom, reputation, livelihood, family and future are all threatened. The problem is a serious one and the stakes are extremely high.
A criminal defense attorney is the only person that stands between the accused and the loss of his or her freedom. The prosecutor is not a friend, but rather a foe. The judge cannot give the accused legal advice, and the criminal justice system is designed to be adversarial by nature. There are rules of procedure, rules of evidence, and legal principles and terminology that are foreign to the accused who is untrained and inexperienced in criminal law and trial advocacy. The case is a battle, a war fought in the trenches of the courtroom with an adversary who has great power and seemingly limitless resources.
Be it remembered that a criminal defense attorney is there to protect those accused, to navigate them through the court system and to seek the best possible solution to their problem.
This is why a person should hire an experienced, knowledgeable and reputable criminal defense attorney.