Why Not Represent Yourself in Court?

If you find yourself involved with the Minnesota court system, legal defense is the last thing you that should compromise. Unfortunately, thousands of people accused of crimes make that mistake every year. Referred to in the legal world as “pro se” representation, it is more commonly known as “representing yourself.” The popularity of this option has been on the rise and in some states, it may even be required in small claims courts.

Why do defendants choose to represent themselves?


Many people believe that representing themselves is an easy way to save money. This may be the case in the short term. However, if you have a limited understanding of the legal system, you may find yourself at a disadvantage. If you lose your case, you may face a heavy fine, or more serious consequences. Spending more money upfront to obtain professional legal defense representation is worth much more in the long run.

In some cases, pro se litigation can actually increase the costs of the court. Attorneys that have been hired by clients may actually spend more time dealing with a defendant representing him or her self. This ends up raising the legal costs for everyone involved.

If you try to save money by representing yourself, make sure you are comfortable with the consequences of losing your case.


Defendants are often under the impression that legal defense is not time consuming. They believe that they will be able to “pick it up” as they go along. Truthfully, most court cases take days, weeks or even months. Possessing a basic understanding of the legal system may help you to properly file a motion or make a few cursory steps toward your defense. Once you enter the courtroom, however, legal terms begin to quickly building on themselves and unless you have an intimate understanding of the field, you can become overwhelmed quickly.