Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
You always have the right to defend yourself without an attorney ("pro se"). However, it is often said that "the man who represents himself has a fool for a client." No offense. As a pro se defendant you will be held to the standards of a licensed attorney. You be expected to know the rules of criminal procedure and the rules of evidence. If you file something too late, that's too bad. If you mess up a motion to suppress evidence because you didn't know a specific rule, that's too bad. If the prosecutor is able to exclude all the evidence you want to present, that's too bad. See where I'm going with this? Plus you can never have an "off the record" negotiation with the prosecutor because everything you say to him/her can later be used against you. Sometimes the prosecutor won't even communicate with the defendant. So even if you simply want to plead guilty, you are not likely to get the best possible deal. If you cannot hire a private defense attorney, you should ask for a public defender. You can ask the judge for a public defender at your next court date. Best of luck!
Answer Applies to: Missouri