If you are facing criminal charges in New Jersey, you have the right to hire an attorney. But you also have the right to represent yourself or handle your case pro se. Before you decide to represent yourself, however, it is important to make sure you know what to expect if you choose not to hire an Essex County criminal defense attorney to represent you.
What Will Happen if You Try to Handle Your Criminal Case Pro Se?
Here is what you can expect if you try to handle your criminal case in Essex County pro se:
You Will Need to Manage All Aspects of Your Criminal Case on Your Own
Without an attorney representing you, you will need to manage all aspects of your case on your own. Among other things, this means that you will need to:
- Make sure you know your court dates and make plans to appear on time
- Make sure you know what to say (and what not to say) during each court appearance
- Collect as much evidence as possible (including requesting evidence from the prosecutor’s office)
- Build a defense strategy based on the relevant facts and law
- Go through the pre-trial processes and represent yourself effectively at trial
You Will Need to Determine What Defenses You Can Use to Protect Yourself
The defenses you have available depend on the facts of your case and the evidence that is available. Without an attorney, you will need to analyze the legal aspects of your case on your own. You will need to determine what evidence is available (and what evidence the prosecutor’s office can present in court), and you will need to be able to show that the prosecution’s evidence does not establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Prosecutor and Judge Will Handle Your Case Just Like Everyone Else’s
Choosing to handle your criminal case pro se does not entitle you to any additional benefits or protections. The prosecutor’s office will still use every weapon in its arsenal to secure a conviction, and the judge will render a decision based on the evidence presented.
If You Don’t Defend Yourself Successfully, You Will Face Life-Altering Consequences
If you don’t defend yourself successfully, you will face life-altering consequences. In New Jersey, all crimes carry the possibility of fines and jail time. If you have been charged with an indictable offense, you are facing a minimum of up to 18 months in prison—and you could potentially be facing decades behind bars. After you serve your sentence, your criminal record will continue to negatively impact many aspects of your life, and you will never know how things could have been different had you put an experienced Essex County criminal defense attorney on your side.
Discuss Your Case with Essex County Criminal Defense Attorney Scott Gorman
If you are facing criminal charges in New Jersey, we strongly encourage you to contact us before deciding to handle your case pro se. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with Essex County criminal defense attorney Scott Gorman, call 862-250-6201 or tell us how we can reach you online now.
Published in Categories: Criminal Defense