Should I Represent Myself in Court?

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The question comes up in many cases of so-called minor crimes and misdemeanors. “Can’t I represent myself?”

My answer is that no person should represent himself or herself in a civil or criminal case. It’s just too difficult and specialized and so many regret the decision. There’s an old saying, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” I would expand on that to read: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client and a fool for a lawyer.” I don’t know how many times I have been asked this question. “Can I do it myself?” I usually respond by asking if they had a notion to fly to the moon, would they take up a wrench and screwdriver and start building a rocket ship?

Here are some reasons PEOPLE should not represent THEMSELVES IN COURT:

1. The criminal justice system is a world you’re not expecting.

Some people believe they can walk into court and explain things to a fair and compassionate judge and things will work out for the best. This is wrong on so many counts it’s hard to know where to start.

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Joseph J. Registrato: The Affordable DUI and Domestic Violence Attorney of Tampa

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JOSEPH J. REGISTRATO IS A DIFFERENT KIND OF LAWYER WHO WILL DEFEND YOU IN YOUR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASE.

If you have been frustrated searching for an affordable DUI or domestic violence lawyer in Tampa who speaks in plain English, the Tampa Legal Team and Joseph J. Registrato, Esq., are here for you.

If you’ve been frustrated searching for a lawyer you can afford, you should talk to me about a “flat fee” arrangement rather than a contract that includes an hourly rate. There is also the possibility of starting off with a contract that includes a down payment followed by regular payments.

And if you’ve been frustrated searching for a lawyer willing to fight even when the odds are against him, you may have found what you’re looking for. In my experience with hundreds of DUI, domestic violence — in fact almost all criminal cases — the results are almost always better when you put up a fight.

After 30 years of practicing law (licensed in September 1989), as both a prosecutor of crimes and a public defender, and after spending 20-plus years in private practice, I’ve seen hundreds of people baffled by the explanations they are given by lawyers and judges. Most shrug their shoulders as they walk out of court, having no idea what they were just told. Words like “withhold adjudication,” “waiver of rights,” “no contest,” have little or no meaning outside the criminal justice system, and people should not be expected to understand them in the few seconds they stand before a judge, usually so nervous and rattled they can’t even hear the words being said.

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