Your Right to Represent Yourself in a California Criminal Case

Updated: Jan 24

Just because you can, it doesn't mean you should


It is very important that you learn about what is at stake if you have a criminal case in California, and what you will be expected to do and know in order to represent yourself. Remember, there are many intricacies involved in a criminal case that you should be aware of and prepared for.


It may not be a good idea to represent yourself in a criminal case if:

  • You have a very complicated case and serious criminal charges have been filed against you.

  • You are going to have a jury trial.

  • You are influenced emotionally to the case and have a difficult time seeing things objectively.

  • The price you'd have to pay if you lose your case, both monetary and in jail time.


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Regardless Of Where You Are In The Criminal Justice Process, Remember Your Rights:


  • To remain silent

  • To due process of the law before being deprived of life, liberty, or property

  • To humane treatment at all times

  • To speak with an attorney privately, even if you cannot afford to pay for one

  • To be read your constitutional Miranda rights

  • To be told you are being arrested and informed of any and all charges against you

  • Against unreasonable searches and seizures

  • Against excessive bail


“Just because you can, it doesn't mean you should represent yourself in a California criminal court.”

Understanding How The Criminal Process Works In California


If you’re under suspicion of committing a crime in the of California, the police will begin a criminal investigation. This process involves a comprehensive analysis of any evidence that could determine whether or not you committed a crime.