Representing Yourself in a Criminal Case? One Calgary Defence Lawyer's Thoughts: Part 1
There's an old saying in the legal profession: A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. What it means, of course, is that even the best lawyer isn't in a position to be their own best advocate. There are too many complications and entanglements to make self-representation a good idea in virtually any case, and a good lawyer knows that being able to keep the roles of client and lawyer separate tends to be the best way forward.
Now, I would never call anyone accused of a crime in Calgary foolish for considering representing themselves. On the contrary, I understand why many people consider this option, and even see it as having a significant advantage over partnering with an experienced criminal defence lawyer. When you're charged with a crime, there is no question that you will be fully devoted to achieving the best possible outcome with your defence, and you also know that you won't face the often-significant financial obligation that comes with hiring professional legal assistance.
Yet while I understand the pressures and thought processes that lead many in Calgary to choose to defend themselves against criminal charges, I can't say I've ever seen a case where I thought it was a good idea. Not only does representing yourself put you in the position of being both client and "lawyer," with all of the complications and entanglements that entails, but it also puts you at a serious disadvantage when dealing with an unfamiliar court system, negotiating with Crown prosecutors who have far more knowledge and experience, and planning effective defence strategies that protect your long-term interests.
Experienced Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyers Can Be Invaluable Assets
Becoming a practicing criminal defence lawyer in Calgary isn't easy. After a standard university education, it takes years in law school to get the necessary education, and new lawyers must be approved to practice by their older and more experienced peers in the Law Society of Alberta. Many criminal defence lawyers in Calgary also spend years gaining experience under other lawyers, as defence lawyers and/or as Crown prosecutors, before they begin offering their services directly to defence clients.
A trained, educated, experienced defence lawyer can provide far more legal knowledge and insight than the average Calgarian, giving you a much better chance at a more favorable outcome for your criminal case. A good lawyer will be able to identify and pursue strategies you might be completely unaware of, and they will ensure that your case proceeds as smoothly and efficiently as possible without your needing to worry about every detail of the paperwork and other aspects involved.
And, as you'll see in Part 2 of this article, you may be able to obtain the services of a top-notch Calgary defence lawyer at little or no cost to you.
Get the Help You Deserve. Contact a Calgary Defence Lawyer Today
If you or a family member has been charged with a serious crime, don't go it alone. Talk to a Calgary defence lawyer and see how they can help. For a free initial consultation, please contact my office today.