Frank, Juengel & Radefeld, Attorneys at Law
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3 things to consider about self-representation

As a St. Louis college student, you have your whole future ahead of you. Though you may not be an independent adult and occasionally reach out to your parents for financial support, you are an adult in the eyes of the law. If you commit a crime, the last thing you might want to do is tell your parents about the situation. However, it might be the best course of action to achieve a proper resolution. 

Criminal charges of any nature are nothing to shrug off and ignore. You might think that since it is your first offense, that you have nothing to worry about. You might even believe you can represent yourself in court. Before you take chances and do something that could derail your future, consider why self-representation can backfire on you. 

1. You are at a disadvantage 

The criminal justice is not kind or lenient towards alleged offenders. No one is going to treat you like a child and give you a light slap on the wrist. You are facing serious consequences. You could end up in jail. A prosecutor may use your limited knowledge of the laws and criminal justice system and behavior against you in court. 

2. You are under pressure 

You may feel stressed and rushed to make decisions that could affect you long after the judge issues a verdict on your case. You must carefully evaluate your situation and defense strategies. If you are under pressure, you could rush and make bad decisions that could make your circumstances worse. 

3. You are risking your future 

One mistake, regardless of how minor it may seem, should not haunt you for the rest of your life. Yet, that is how society treats people who have criminal records. Not everyone who has a criminal conviction is guilty. Many innocent offenders get railroaded by the criminal justice system and end up serving time for crimes they did not commit. Many of those individuals chose to represent themselves. 

There is nothing wrong with admitting you made a mistake, especially if you can benefit from asking your parents and a criminal defense attorney for guidance. Use this experience to make better decisions and avoid future legal issues.

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