What happens if I try to represent myself in court?

Representing yourself in court is a serious gamble. You may have a good outcome, but without legal counsel, it may mean that you go to jail. Some courts will not even grant the accused an appeal bond. That would mean going from the courthouse directly to the jail and staying there until or unless the sentence is overturned on appeal. Reasons not to represent yourself in court

Courtroom TV dramas make beating a criminal charge look easy, but legal proceedings can be very complex. Attorneys know how to obtain copies of the police report and cite applicable case law. They know the subtle details vital to establishing guilt—details that are easy to overlook if you're not familiar with the law. Additionally, attorneys understand what is and isn't admissible as evidence.

Taking your chances with self-representation on charges of drug possession, assault and battery, or breaking and entering is never a good idea, but even someone charged with reckless driving needs solid, professional legal advice. Virginia is tough on crime—especially on those accused of reckless driving by speed. If you try to defend yourself with weak arguments such as you were trying to keep pace with traffic, you were going downhill, or you simply didn't realize how fast you were going, you risk jail, license suspension, a permanent criminal record, and a hefty increase in your insurance rates. Even your job could be at risk because you might lose your CDL and/or security clearance.

Don't Let One Mistake Define Your Future

People often hesitate to hire an attorney because they're worried about the cost of representation. However, a good defense can mean the difference between clearing your name and a conviction that can permanently damage your reputation. Making sure your rights are protected is an investment in your future.

Attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh has dedicated his career to helping Virginia residents achieve the best possible outcome for their case. Call (804) 835-5127, or complete our online contact form to make an appointment for a free, confidential consultation.