How to Defend Yourself in Court in California Civil Matters
When you are a defendant in a civil case, it’s usually because the plaintiff wants money damages against you for their financial losses. For example, maybe you damaged the plaintiff’s property or did not pay back the money that you borrowed from the plaintiff. In other civil cases, the plaintiff wants you to do something, such as move out of an apartment after you broke the rules of the lease. In civil court, the worst that can happen to you as a defendant is that you have to pay the plaintiff the money they are requesting. You cannot go to jail as a result of losing a civil case. If someone files a civil lawsuit against you and you decide to represent yourself, you will look much more professional if you have your court documents prepared professionally.
Divorce cases are similar to civil cases. The worst that can happen in a divorce case is that the court grants your spouse’s requests instead of yours regarding finances and parenting time. It is not uncommon for people to represent themselves in a divorce case. If your spouse files for divorce, it can be fairly easy to represent yourself. Consider using A People’s Choice to help you prepare all the necessary documents to comply with the California divorce process.
Defending Yourself in Court in a California Criminal Case
In criminal cases, the parties are 1) the prosecution (lawyers representing the state of California) and 2) the defendant. The Constitution guarantees defendants in criminal cases the right to a fair trial; this includes the right to have a professional attorney represent you. If you cannot afford a lawyer, and jail or prison is a possible punishment for your charges, the court must appoint a lawyer for you. You must, however, present a financial affidavit, a statement demonstrating that you cannot afford to pay for legal representation. A registered legal document assistant can prepare your financial affidavit accurately and quickly to help you get a court-appointed lawyer. After that, the court-appointed lawyer can help in the following ways:
- Arranging a plea bargain. For example, you can plead guilty to drug possession instead of drug dealing. Another example would plead guilty to drug possession and getting probation instead of jail.
- Going to trial. In a trial, the jury must find you not guilty unless the prosecution’s evidence can prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Getting you into a pretrial diversion program. For example, you may be able to complete a drug rehab program to get your charges dropped.
A People’s Choice can Empower You to Represent Yourself
Hiring a lawyer is not necessary unless a huge amount of money or your freedom is at stake. If you are looking to defend yourself in court in a California legal matter, consider contacting A People’s Choice. Depending on the type of legal proceedings, our office may be able to help. Often defending yourself in court simply requires an experienced legal professional to prepare the documents you need. Call us today at 800-747-2780.
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