The police officer stop my car and stated that I was speeding over the speed limit but I denied it because the road was slippery. The officer decided not to give me a ticket. He asks me if I have any illegal drugs on me. I said no. He asks me to get out of the car, and I refused and told him about the Fourth Amendment. He then coerced and shrieked at me to get out of my car and empty my pocket to his partner. I went against my will and still refused to empty my pockets. The officer then searched my vehicle, and I empty my pockets. I was arrested and detained for 5 days. I posted bail and released.
You have the absolute right to represent yourself in a criminal matter. Most people would think that it was not very smart to do it, but if you want to risk going to prison (state jail, which IS prison), you certainly can. Do you realize how many times someone claims that the police violated their rights? Do you realize that virtually all of those people LOSE? Do you know that the court of appeals seems to bend over backwards to uphold a judge's decision to deny a motion to suppress on this issue? Do your know how many trained, experienced attorneys lose on this issue? Do you realize that you cannot say that you are innocent if the cops actually found drugs in your possession and that the justice system grants very little justice in these issues? Do you realize that you will be held to the same standard with regard to knowing and following the rules of evidence that the lawyers must follow? Do you realize that if (when) you screw up, you cannot complain that you didn't know the rules or that you didn't have good legal advice? Do you realize that when your hearing comes up, there will be many, many attorneys in the courtroom watching you mostly so that they can laugh at your attempts?
I'm not saying this to discourage you. I am simply making sure that you realize how stupid most people with common sense think of is for you to try to represent yourself. Good luck.
Many people think they can represent themselves or pay a minimal amount because they supposedly have a slam dunk case. We have a name for people like that: convicts.
Dallas felony judges make it very difficult for you to represent yourself. They have to first make a finding that you are competent to do so, which you most assuredly are not. For example, if the police have reasonable suspicion to come into contact with you, the stop is proper. Even if they are mistaken about the reason for the stop. I can tell you with 100% confidence that the fact that the road was slippery is completely irrelevant. I have no idea whether the search was legal. Only your attorney, after reviewing the state's evidence, can give you an informed opinion on that. Trying to represent yourself in a felony is about a good an idea as trying to perform surgery on yourself. I recommend that you start interviewing local experienced attorneys immediately. Most of us offer free consultations. Just start calling around.
Macy Jaggers's answer to a legal question on Avvo does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an attorney who practices criminal law in your jurisdiction for the most accurate legal advice.
Yes you can. But it would be a terrible decision. Even the worst criminal defense attorney would be better than a person representing themselves.
If you are trying to save money, call around to different local lawyers here on Avvo.com. If you are truly indigent (i.e. broke), talk to the court coordinator to try to get a court appointed attorney.
I am a former State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense cases. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails, is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
If you are representing yourself, this means you would be headed for trial basically, and as the other lawyers have said, this never goes well. It will not go well for you regardless of the facts of your case. Think of all the things you wouldn't try to do yourself--facing a criminal charge is much more important than those.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline