You technically have the option to represent yourself in any court matter rather than working with an attorney. However, rarely is this a good idea—typically it’s only advisable when you’re dealing with court appearances for minor infractions. The higher the stakes, the more you need a defense attorney on your side to advocate for you and guide you through the legal process.
If you have decided to take this approach, though, and are wondering how to represent yourself in court in Lubbock, TX, here are just a few tips for you to take into consideration:
- Learn as much as you can: Read and learn as much as you can about all of the rules and laws that apply to your case. Just because you don’t have an attorney doesn’t mean the court will take it easy on you—you need to know how the laws apply to your case, and what you need to prove if you are to succeed.
- Completely fill out all documents: Throughout the process, you’re going to need to fill out and submit a number of written documents. Some of these documents will come as forms you can find at the court or online. Other documents might be prepared from scratch, but will still need to comply with all the rules the court has in place for written submissions and evidence. In all cases, it is important you fill these documents out thoroughly, accurately and truthfully. Make sure your handwriting is also easily legible. Finally, it is critical that you meet all filing deadlines for your paperwork—otherwise, your chances of finding success in your case will tank.
- Be present for hearings: You must attend all of your court hearings. Make sure you get to the courthouse early so you can find where your hearing will take place. Leave plenty early so you can figure out where you’ll need to park and so you can navigate traffic. If you miss your court date, there’s a decent chance the court will just decide to rule against you. Try to get there at least a half hour early so you have time to get there and collect yourself before the hearing begins.
- Bring files: Any time you have a court appearance, bring copies of any important files and paperwork with you, so you have the information with you to refer to if needed. This will help you make sure you deliver accurate and consistent information to the judge.
- Gather witnesses: If there are any witnesses who can testify on your behalf, it is important to alert them to your hearings and bring them along with you. If you have important witnesses who refuse to come, you can seek a subpoena from the court, but you’ll need to make sure you do this far in advance of your hearing.
- Practice: Practice all of your arguments so you are prepared to articulately make your case in front of the judge. Be sure to conduct yourself properly in the courtroom, being perfectly respectful at all times and wearing professional clothing.
For more information about self-representation in court, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Lubbock, TX at the Law Office of Rob Biggers today.
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