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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16551
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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i have to represent my self in criminal court for the charges

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i have to represent my self in criminal court for the charges resisting arrest and assault but i am innocent.....
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,

If you're innocent of the charges and you want to fight this case, do not even consider representing yourself. It's a very good way to end up in jail. Criminal law is quite subtle, and to get things wrong is to compromise some of your most fundamental rights.

I don't know if your lawyer is a good or bad one. He or she has a professional obligation to convey any deal that a DA offers, and to give his or her client the pluses and minuses of that. If he thinks your case is weak, he will call it as he sees it and let you know. To do anything less is not to meet his professional and ethical obligations. He MUST give you all you are supposed to know in order to make a decision.

Many think that their lawyers are eager to push pleas at them. That's the nature of the system and not the nature of the lawyer. Having an open criminal case is a lot of pressure. Once you make your decision that you want trial, however, your lawyer has to do his or her best to win it for you.

So if your lawyer seems to be telling you not to fight the case and you don't want to listen, make it clear that you want a trial anyway. Then if he won't communicate with you and let you know what's going on, or if he doesn't seem to have your interests at heart, you can ask him to relieve himself from your case and for the judge to appoint you a new public defender. If there's a problem in communication or a personality clash or if your public defender isn't working hard enough on your behalf, a judge will usually consider making one change of counsel. Before it gets to that, however, if he works for a public defender office, you can call it, speak to his supervisor, and lodge a complaint. The supervisor will talk to your lawyer and that has frequently been known to work wonders.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,

If you're innocent of the charges and you want to fight this case, do not even consider representing yourself. It's a very good way to end up in jail. Criminal law is quite subtle, and to get things wrong is to compromise some of your most fundamental rights.

I don't know if your lawyer is a good or bad one. He or she has a professional obligation to convey any deal that a DA offers, and to give his or her client the pluses and minuses of that. If he thinks your case is weak, he will call it as he sees it and let you know. To do anything less is not to meet his professional and ethical obligations. He MUST give you all you are supposed to know in order to make a decision.

Many think that their lawyers are eager to push pleas at them. That's the nature of the system and not the nature of the lawyer. Having an open criminal case is a lot of pressure. Once you make your decision that you want trial, however, your lawyer has to do his or her best to win it for you.

So if your lawyer seems to be telling you not to fight the case and you don't want to listen, make it clear that you want a trial anyway. Then if he won't communicate with you and let you know what's going on, or if he doesn't seem to have your interests at heart, you can ask him to relieve himself from your case and for the judge to appoint you a new public defender. If there's a problem in communication or a personality clash or if your public defender isn't working hard enough on your behalf, a judge will usually consider making one change of counsel. Before it gets to that, however, if he works for a public defender office, you can call it, speak to his supervisor, and lodge a complaint. The supervisor will talk to your lawyer and that has frequently been known to work wonders.









Customer: replied 3 years ago.
i have to represent my self in criminal court for the charges resisting arrest and assault but i am innocent.....to make the story short a neihbor knocked at my door after suposibly hearing screams asking to see my girlfriend the mother of my 2 year old daughter. i refused to show him my girlfriend he insisted.... came back a second time with security guard and constantly trheatning me even taking off his shirt to fight. the third time i hear a knock i ask "who is it" i hear "the police" i peeped thru the whole at my door and saw nobody, so thinking its that drunk and noise neihbor i asked to see identification. the response was "open the f**king door before we knock it down" noticing that it was the police by the tone of voice that was used i opened the door. police officer asked me for a search which i volunteerly steped out of my apartment and slowly turned around for him so he could perform the search, when police officer tries to search me he grabs my hand in a very aggressive way to pin me down.??? so my hand by reflect snaps off the officers aggrestion and thats when the police officer attacks me other police officer just watches but does not interfere because doesnt consider that i am trying to assault, just one of the officers punches me. i throw my self at the floor while my girlfriend pleads to officer to stop he keeps on trying to break my arm and constantly tthreat to taser me. finally handcuffs me and leaves me on the floor while he conversates with my girlfriend. comes back out and takes me in saying my charge is resisting arrest. later on inside jail i see the ticket that is given to me to sign and see another charge of assault???? have trial in 20 days and my public defender only talks to me on court dates no investigator has called my girlfriend or the security guard for their testimonies. can i represent my self ??? can you give useful tools? help me?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,

I don't know how long your case has actually been pending. After motions and discovery have been completed, cases are always calendared "for trial" but they take a long time for that to happen. Most times on the trial date, the case will get adjourned.

If it's truly your trial date in 20 days, the judge will likely not allow you to either represent yourself or to ask for a new public defender. Last minute requests like that after the case has been pending for a long while are generally seen by judges as delaying tactics on the part of the defendant. They will make your lawyer go forward.

If it's not really your trial date, I have not changed my opinion from what I said before. If you win this case, you have a brutality suit against the police. And you can also complain about their treatment of you now, for that matter, to Internal Affairs and to your state attorney general's office alleging brutality. But that is just one more reason that I'd urge you to leave your defense to a pro, because if you come out guilty of either of these charges, that's out the window.

This case is going to come down entirely to credibility. Don't blow yours by taking on more than you can chew. With something like this, a lawyer can be neutral. You're clearly angry and you have a right to be, but the angrier you appear in court, the more likely it will look to the trier of the facts like you were capable of assaulting the officers.

Tell the judge your lawyer does not return your calls, talk to you about your case, or contact your witnesses and you do not believe he is working on your behalf. Ask for the appointment of a new lawyer.

Without seeing the court papers, looking over the discovery, doing an investigation, and conferring with the prosecuting attorney it would be professionally irresponsible for any Expert here to tell you what you needed to do to make out your defense. But if I haven't convinced you to stay with a lawyer, I'll be happy to opt out at your request so that you can get a second opinion.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
youre completely right an attorney is totally necesary. i wanted to make sure. the security guard and my girlfriend are witneses the police officer made a mistake in his report saying that the one that heard the sreams and called the cops was the security guard. and i have the same security guard saying otherwise..... my girlfriend saw the agression of the officer and the real testimonie of her. not the one the police made up. thank you for your time. can you please make a last comment on this..... thank you so much i have never been thru something like this....
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

I understand. You're angry and you're nervous, and you'd be crazy if you weren't.

Try to get your lawyer changed if you are not confident in him. Public defenders have heavy caseloads and practice no-frills law. They can be hard to reach and may make you feel as if they are always on the fly. BUT if you are stuck with this one, in general public defenders have a great deal of experience and they are criminal law specialists. It's the only kind of law they practice. While some may be bad, some are excellent, and most are average, just like most private lawyers are average. In my experience, public defenders know how to try a criminal case. That's what they were hired and trained by their office to do.

I don't know whether the state intends to call your girlfriend or not. They will probably call the security guard. It doesn't seem that the latter saw and heard enough to be a particularly important witness for either side, as he didn't personally hear what the neighbor heard or witness your arrest. But your girlfriend's testimony is important. If the state doesn't call her and she's a defense witness, her testimony will be favorable to you. It won't should not take the lawyer very long to hear what she has to say and prep her so that she'll have an idea of what the DA may ask her.

If the defense puts on a case, it comes after the State's case. And there may also be hearings and jury selection before the trial as well So there's going to be more time than you think for an attorney to focus in on your case.

Good luck!!



Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16551
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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