Hi. Thank you for joining me today. I have a very simple question I want to pose today and it’s commonly asked of us surprisingly by clients. And the question is a simple one. Do I have to hire a criminal lawyer?
Well, no, but good luck on that. All kidding aside, you know, there’s an old adage he who represents himself or herself in criminal court has a fool for a lawyer. Just to give you an example, I hope I’m never charged with a criminal offense but if I was I’d be crazy to represent myself. Despite the fact that I have about 33 years of experience as a Crown Attorney originally for four years and the last 22 or 23 years as a criminal defense lawyer.
So what’s the buzz about this? Why do I say that? Well, we have first of all, a very complex criminal justice system. It’s difficult enough for a lawyer to keep up with all the changes. We review the law all the time, and it’s very difficult. It would be very difficult for someone to properly navigate themselves through the criminal court system. There’s no question about that. So that’s one reason why you absolutely need a lawyer. If you’re looking at any charges, such as a DUI, sexual assault, all these other defenses, there’s technical defenses, which you would not know about. And you’d say, well, you wouldn’t even know about that.
You’d miss the defenses. You wouldn’t be able to win your case in that regard. If you went to trial, how are you supposed to cross examine a victim of crime? Oh, no, I did this. No, you did that. It’s impossible. I couldn’t do that effectively for myself. I need to hire an advocate. So that question, it’s a simple question, but the answer is very clear that you really would be doing yourself a disservice. You need to find the best lawyer you can within your budget basically to represent you in a case in that way.
You’re going to maximize your chances of A winning your case B if your case is not winnable, possibly, you know negotiating the best possible result maybe avoiding a criminal record. Again, you need an advocate on your behalf, not only to guide you and navigate through the system, but get you the result that you deserve or need.
And I can tell you that the people that I’ve seen represent themselves in the criminal justice system. It’s a bit of a disaster. I’ve seen it many times judges kind of cringe when they have a self-represented accused of trial. It just doesn’t work out. They can’t even, they don’t know the rules of evidence they can’t cross examine and the case is just a disaster. And I’ve seen so many people get convicted in that regard who shouldn’t and you know, there’s some people have slipped through the cracks unfortunately because, you know, some people may not qualify for legal aid, for example, because they make a little bit too much money but yet, but yet they can’t afford a lawyer.
So that’s a sad reality in our justice system that some people slip through the cracks and you know, I have seen some miscarriages of justice because of that, if someone’s not capable of representing themselves and here they are doing a trial, which is just a complete, frankly, a disaster. So there you have it. That’s the short answer to why or should you hire a criminal lawyer? Do you need to hire a criminal lawyer? Short answer’s absolutely.