Question: Do I need a Lawyer? Can't I represent myself in court?
Answer: In short, yes, having a Lawyer represent you offers many benefits. Even if a defendant has intentions of pleading guilty, it is almost always a better option to plead not guilty while the criminal defense lawyer completes not only a review of all the legal documents and police reports, but also has a chance to conduct investigation and speak with the district attorney concerning a plea bargain.
It is often said, "If you're guilty, you plead guilty," however, such a comment misses the point concerning plea bargaining. For instance, imagine you are buying a car. After your own research, you decide a certain car is valued near $10,000. Once you find that model car for purchase, the seller informs you the car is priced at $15,500. Would you instantly accept the offer and buy the car? Of course not. You would bargain with the seller for what you believe is a fair value.
In the context of a criminal case, it is very common for the defendant to not know the value of their case in terms of punishment; for example, what is the appropriate punishment for a person arrested for shoplifting when that person has a prior record containing two other theft related crimes as well as a DWI? Or is a fraud check case worth jail time when it is the first offense and the value of fraud is less than $30? NOT whether it's legally possible, but reasonable in light of the common punishments in that courtroom for similar offenses. These are the types of questions criminal defense attorneys know and answer everyday.
Basics of the Texas Criminal Justice System