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Can you represent yourself other than a criminal or traffic case…

Saint Charles, MO |

I was just wondering this because I have tried to represent myself in the past but for some reason, I am having trouble with the library having the right forms for petitioning the court or they are difficult to find.

Attorney Answers 4


Representing yourself is not the best police especially when you struggle to learn the process as you go along, try to locate the right forms and, quite honestly, grapple with your next legal step. Hence, you may be doing a disservice to your case by potentially making mistakes that would be hard to remedy even for a licensed attorney. Please at the very least, speak with an attorney regarding your case.

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The question should be more in the nature of "should I represent myself." I have seen many individuals choose to do this and it never works out well. Even the best attorneys in the world would have someone else represent them if they faced charges. They often say that one who represents themselves has a fool for a client.

Michael L. Doyle

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Never seen it work yet, but it certainly is your right. There are thousands of forms, but hundreds of thousands of actions for which no form has been created. You list a great many topics as to your posting. If it is a criminal matter, it is your life and freedom you are experimenting with.

We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.

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I agree with the other attorneys. When you represent yourself, the Court assumes you have the same knowledge as an attorney. You are cut no slack by the judge on procedures, objections, forms, etc. Many basic forms (such as plea forms, bond forms, etc) are available at the courthouse. More advanced motions are almost always drafted by the attorney, and the attorney is citing to specific cases as they relate to your facts. Without a solid knowledge of the law and available research tools, it is nearly impossible to match the quality of a good attorney. All that said, by far the biggest problem in representing yourself is the bias we all have as humans. It is easy to miss the forest as a result of all the trees, in other words. Even the best attorneys in the country hire outside counsel when they find themselves in trouble. My advice would be to hire a private attorney or fill out an application for the public defender.

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