When it comes to dealing with the court system, few of us have the legal knowledge it takes to navigate our way to the other side unscathed.
You’ve likely run across YouTube videos of people claiming to be experts in some esoteric knowledge about the court system, offering advice that even a layman can use to beat the system without needing an attorney.
That’s what they claim, anyway, and you would be unwise to take their advice.
In general, there are 3 situations in which you don’t necessarily need an attorney.
Small Claims Court
Small claims are for civil disputes regarding relatively low amounts of money. What constitutes “low” in this case? That’s established by individual states.
Small claims court proceedings are relatively informal. Two parties explain their side of the story to the judge, and then the judge decides the outcome.
The reason this is included is because, by and large, it’s simply a matter of paying the ticket. However, there are times when the courts may consider waving the ticket.
- Your insurance rates will go up so high that you won’t be financially capable of paying them.
- The ticket will add enough points to your license that it will cause a license suspension.
In this case, you can try to fight the ticket on your own, but you’d still be better off hiring an attorney.
Simply put, no-contest is when you are being sued, you know full-well what the opposing party is asking for, and you are willing to pay the amount. In this case, you can simply appear in court and acquiesce to their demands.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney in All Other Cases
The chances of you winning a court case with yourself as a representative are slim to none. As a matter of fact, even attorneys often don’t represent themselves when they end up in some kind of legal trouble. Attorneys know how important it is to have an objective third party there to represent them, and so does the judge. It could be argued that the jury sees this as well, if only subconsciously – legal representation looks good.
Let’s delve into some of the many reasons you should hire an attorney to represent you in court.
You’re a Layman – Not a Lawyer
You simply won’t have enough time to learn all of the esoteric and confusing legal terms and procedures before your trial. Attorneys, on the other hand, have made it their career to understand the law and how to best represent their clients in a courtroom.
Have you ever presented evidence to a judge or jury? Do you know how and when to object to evidence when it is presented against you? Have you ever argued motions or interviewed witness testimony?
Your attorney has. Leave it to them.
You Could Accidentally Incriminate Yourself Further
Succeeding in court means not only knowing what to say, but what not to say. Evidence you present in one instance could come back to further incriminate you in light of new evidence. You could accidentally betray details of an event that actually hurt, rather than help your case.
Professional attorneys have the education and experience that affords them this kind of foresight. Furthermore, they’re going to be more calm under pressure, so the odds of this happening are much more slim with a professional attorney by your side
You Are Emotionally Attached to Your Case
When it’s your time and money on the line, you are going to be emotionally attached to the outcome of the trial. That means you aren’t going to be thinking with cold, hard logic. Your attorney, on the other hand, will be in that position.
Having a third party to represent you means you have someone who isn’t emotionally attached to the case. Their thinking will be more logical, and their arguments more objective.
It’s Going to Cost You More in the Long Run
Yes, attorneys can be expensive, but let’s keep things in perspective – time is money, and if you want to represent yourself in court, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time setting up a compelling case. If your case fails in court, that’s more time (possibly jail time) wasted. Now add to that court fees, recurring probation fees, and anything else that the court system can legally extract from you.
In the end, it’s just not worth it. It is always better to hire professional legal representation.