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Waldorf, MD Criminal Defense: Should I Represent Myself in a Criminal Case?

The answers are: “absolutely not!” and “never!” These are the same answers to the question of whether you should talk to the police after being arrested: “absolutely not!” and “never!” Let us speak frankly. Maybe you are concerned that the Maryland criminal defense lawyers here at the Law Office of Robert Castro are just looking for clients so we can collect fees for our legal services. Well, you can have that worry, but the answers are the same: “absolutely not!” and “never!” We urge you to hire a different Maryland criminal defense law firm. But, whatever you do, hire a Maryland criminal defense law firm.

Why? No matter how “minor” the charge, being convicted of a crime will have serious negative consequences for your future. First, a person convicted of a crime might go to jail. No one wants that, even for a few days or months. You want to avoid this at all costs, and to do so, you need to hire Maryland criminal defense lawyers.

Second, a conviction will literally follow a person around for the rest of their life. As just one example, many employers will ask about convictions on job applications and will run criminal background checks prior to hiring. Many employers will simply refuse to consider a person with a criminal conviction. As another example, housing can also be implicated since some landlords ask these types of questions and will refuse to rent to a person with a criminal record. Obtaining a professional license can also become problematic if there is a criminal conviction on your record. Even things like approval for loans and interest rates charged can be impacted. Just consider that being arrested can have negative consequences since that question is often asked by potential employers. This is one reason that many States — including Maryland — have passed “ban the box” legislation that prohibits employers from asking about arrests and convictions at the initial stages of an employment application. Again, hiring experienced Maryland criminal defense attorneys will substantially increase a person’s chances of avoiding these adverse life consequences.

There are other reasons that a person should never represent themselves in a Maryland criminal case. Like most types of law, criminal law uses language, words, and phrases that are technical and complex for those without legal training. For example, at the beginning of a Maryland criminal case, the defendant — the person arrested and charged — will be asked to make a “plea.” That is probably a familiar term to many, and most might say that a plea is either “guilty” or “not guilty.” But in Maryland, there are two other options: “not guilty by reason of insanity”’ and “nolo contendere.” In Maryland, the former is phrased as “not criminally responsible by reason of insanity.” Trained Maryland criminal defense attorneys know the definition of the Latin phrase “nolo contendere” — “I will not contest” the charges know that a plea of nolo contendere can only be offered with the judge’s permission and know that the rules concerning pleas can be found in Rule 4- 242 of the Maryland Court Rules. Further, courtroom-tested Maryland criminal defense lawyers know what happens if the criminal defendant refuses or fails to give a plea. Under subsection (b)(4) of the above-cited statute, if the defendant fails or refuses to plead as required, the clerk or the court shall enter a plea of “not guilty.”

The above is just one minor example of how legal skills and training are required to mount a successful criminal defense effort. Criminal law is NOT do-it-yourself.

Contact Waldorf, Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Robert Castro Today

This article has been provided by the Law Office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions, contact our office to speak to an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer at (301) 705-5137. We are Waldorf, MD, Criminal Defense lawyers. Our address is 2670 Crain Highway, Waldorf, MD, 20601.