Have you been charged with a felony or misdemeanor in central Illinois? Have law enforcement officers asked you to come into the office to answer some questions? If so, you may be wondering if you can represent yourself or if you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer. You may be wondering what a criminal defense lawyer can do for you that you cannot do for yourself? The fact is that the consequences of not hiring a criminal defense lawyer can be very serious. You could lose your freedom as a result of representing yourself in criminal court.
You Have the Right to Represent Yourself
Under our constitution, you have the right to represent yourself with regard to criminal charges, including felony and misdemeanor charges. While a court will rarely force a defendant to accept the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer, it is always in your best interest to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer regarding any criminal proceeding. Why is it in your best interest?
Criminal Defense Lawyers Understand the Law and Have Valuable Experience
If you represent yourself in a criminal proceeding, the court will hold you to the same standards as a criminal defense lawyer. It takes years of schooling and experience to learn everything that is needed to represent a client in a criminal proceeding. It is simply not practical to believe that you will be able to study case law, learn about court procedures, study and learn defense strategies, study rules of evidence, and learn the applicable sections of the Illinois criminal code in the amount of time you have before your hearing or interview.
By choosing an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you are gaining an advocate who has years of experience, understands the law, and knows how to use the law to provide the best possible defense to the criminal charges. Your attorney will know the best criminal defense strategy to use in order to achieve the best outcome possible. If you choose to represent yourself and you make a critical legal mistake that results in you losing the case, the court will not overturn the conviction just because you “did not understand the law.”
Criminal Defense Lawyers are More Objective and Better Advocates
There is a reason why doctors should not treat themselves and lawyers should not represent themselves – they are too close to the situation. When emotions are involved, it is difficult to see the bigger picture with objectivity. A criminal defense lawyer is an objective advocate who can clearly evaluate all courses of action available to you, choose a defense strategy that is in your best interest, and identify the pitfalls to avoid. When you are facing possible prison time, it is extremely difficult to remain unemotional and objective.
Furthermore, your criminal defense lawyer has extensive training in how to present cases in court in a manner that highlights the positive qualities of the defendant while downplaying the negative allegations made by the prosecution. In some cases, this could be the deciding factor used by the jury when determining whether to believe your testimony or the prosecution’s allegations of what happened.
Contact Our Office for a Consultation with an Experienced Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney
The criminal lawyers of Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols represent individuals who have been charged with crimes in Illinois. We assist clients throughout McLean, Woodford, Tazewell, and Peoria counties by providing compassionate, competent legal services. Contact our office at 309-938-4838 to schedule your free consultation.
When you need the assistance of an experienced criminal attorney in central Illinois, call Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols. We are dedicated to providing our clients with exceptional service and support throughout the criminal justice process.