Aug 24, 2018 Self represented criminal defendants desperately need help
Fairfax criminal lawyer on the plight of self represented criminal defendants
Self represented criminal defendants desperately need help, whether that help is to re-think proceeding without a lawyer, knowing and exercising their rights throughout their court proceedings, and knowing and exercising their post-trial rights.
Virginia criminal attorney on the virtually unlimited missteps that can be made by pro se criminal defendants
As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I repeatedly regret seeing the missteps of self-represented/ pro se criminal defendants. Their missteps start by proceeding without a qualified lawyer when they are eligible for a court-appointed/public defender (also known as indigent defense) lawyer or when they are foolhardy in trying to save available assets for hiring a lawyer when the financial and personal costs of proceeding without a lawyer can be much worse.
Fairfax criminal lawyer warns about declining a judge’s offer for time to obtain a qualified lawyer
Self-represented defendants’ missteps can proceed further by their not accepting a judge’s offer to reschedule the trial to give them an opportunity to seek a court-appointed or retained lawyer, because the defendant either wants to “get it over with” (an illusion) or rationalizes that s/he does not have time and/or financial resources to miss work or school or family obligations to return to court or to travel from long distances to return to court.
Virginia criminal lawyer repeatedly cringes when unrepresented criminal defendants plead guilty when the circumstances do not justify such a please
Pro se criminal defendants’ missteps can continue when they plead guilty, no contest/ nolo contendere or Alford when the prosecutor does not even have the necessary witnesses and/or other evidence to prove the case (and how often do prosecutors admit to the judge and pro se defendant that the prosecutor is not ready for trial?) or when the only possibly greater risk of losing at trial rather than with a guilty plea might be a higher fine for such a non-jailable matter as public intoxication, which when convicted can amount to a violation of existing probation and can haunt a convicted person in terms of reputation, career and immigration prospects.
This is part one of a multi-part article. Part 2 is here.
Fairfax, Virginia, criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz’s motivation for representing criminal defendants arises from his devotion to protecting civil liberties and his love of courtroom and courthouse battle. To discuss your case with Jon, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation.