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question.jpgIn Criminal Law

Can I be my own lawyer?

Yes. A defendant has a right to proceed pro se (as his or her own lawyer) - counsel cannot be foisted upon a defendant that doesn’t want one. However, the right to proceed pro se is not absolute; the government does have some interest in ensuring the efficiency and integrity of a trial - and the appointment of standby counsel can be made over the defendant’s objections. Moreover, a defendant is not guaranteed to be advised of his or her right to proceed as his or her own lawyer - the right to appointed counsel supersedes the right to go it alone.