Your military defense lawyer will help you understand your right to be represented by a lawyer or to represent yourself in a case.
Having an Attorney Is a Right, Not a Requirement
A military defense lawyer can represent you in a case, but you also have the right to be your own attorney. There are numerous factors to take into account when making the decision as to whether or not you should hire an attorney. They include:
1) The consequences of being convicted.
The worse the possible consequences of a conviction, the more likely it is that you will need to be represented by a lawyer. If the charges are of the federal criminal or state felony variety with your liberty in the balance, then it is advisable to have experienced legal representation. With a minor offense and no risk of jail, you can consider representing yourself. Even with a minor offense, a conviction can have consequences that you were not aware of. For example, you might avoid jail but will have to pay higher insurance rates, lose a professional license, and face greater penalties if you are convicted of subsequent offenses.
2) Facing the criminal justice system as a neophyte.
There are multiple entities you will have to deal with. These include the police, the prosecutor, the witnesses and the judge. Without legal experience, it will be difficult to have an understanding of all the legal nuances. A military defense lawyer can help to ensure that you are treated fairly and will not be victimized by governmental overreach.
3) Criminal laws and procedures.
There are certain procedures with criminal law that can be complicated. The system is governed by procedural and evidentiary rules. There will be opening statements, witness cross-examination and closing arguments. If you are unaware of how to make certain your rights are asserted, you are facing a disadvantage.