Updated: Dec 29, 2021
Under the right circumstances, you may be able to represent yourself in a California court
There are many explanations why someone would consider to represent him or herself in a California court:
In criminal cases, the court will appoint a public defender, if you can not afford a lawyer in California. But you do not have the right to a court-appointed attorney in ANY other type of case because you can't afford one.
You are not entitled to have a lawyer in small claims cases.
Whatever the reasons are, in all cases in California, you have the right to defend yourself and be your own lawyer. But just because you're allowed to represent yourself doesn't mean that you should. To represent yourself in court, you must first think about what is at stake if you lose your case.
What to consider when deciding if you want to represent yourself
The idea of hiring a lawyer in California to represent you is always a smart idea. Lawyers didn't spend years studying the law for nothing. But it is not always appropriate or feasible, as we just explained.
You should hire a lawyer if:
You have a tough case or a situation that may become difficult (but keep in mind you may not always know a case is or could be complicated until you are in front of a judge).