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Representing Yourself in a Florida Court – Is it Wise?

representing yourself in court

We won’t advise anyone to be representing him or herself in a Florida court and especially in a criminal trial. As a self-represented individual, you are acting pro se, and must make your own decision even sometimes after speaking to legal counsel. For smaller civil lawsuits and a small claim matters in Florida courts, however, it can be inexpensive and quite effective to represent yourself just by hiring a Florida civil legal document preparer or small claim legal document specialist to assist you with the paperwork.

We Will Act as Your Guide

At South Florida Legal Doc Prep Services, it is our specialty to help small claimants to prepare their documents. We will act as your legal document specialist so that you can be representing yourself. Another thing we do is explain the court process to you.  As always, we offer legal information and help you to navigate all the appropriate paperwork involved; however, we cannot provide legal advice.

Read Here For All of the Information

Are you still not convinced that you will be able to do it yourself? We’ve gathered a few tips and informative snippets to help you decide.

1) I don’t know in which court to file my case.

Most likely it will be in State court. The bulk of civil lawsuits that would be small and easy enough to handle yourself will most likely be in State court.  

2) What about all of the paperwork?

That is where we come in! We will provide you with the forms and instructions to follow when filing your small claim or civil lawsuit.

Perfect paperwork

Remember, all of your paperwork must comply with Florida court’s rules regarding written submissions. Your documents should be neat, legible, and truthful. This is your only chance to get your argument before the court, and it should convey your arguments accurately.

There will be deadlines

Most of the documents that you will need to file would have to adhere to deadlines. It is called “statutes of limitations” and applies to all courts. Make sure you know what the limitations are and file your documents on time.  

 3) How would I know what to do at what time?

There are rules to follow

Most lawsuits have specific procedures to follow. Federal, state, or local rules govern this and would depend on the Florida court where you’ve filed your case.  

With Us You’ll Know What to Expect

  • The process
  • Before the trial, “discovery” will take place. It can be a pre-trial conference, formal legal interviews, or requests to produce documents.
  • When the trial starts, there is usually an opening statement from each side of the lawsuit.
  • The plaintiff typically gets the first turn to put on his case and produce witnesses. The defense can cross-examine witnesses. Then, the defense gets the same opportunity.
  • Both sides end with closing arguments and explain to the jury or judge why their case should win.
  • Some cases will not require witnesses.

Most trials, however, will require the correct documents. You might need contracts, receipts, letters, bills, and more. There are rules about what evidence can be considered by a jury or judge. If this sounds like more than you can handle, you will want to seek legal counsel for legal advice and representation.

Watch and learn

The best way to know how to behave during a trial is to sit in on a different trial. You will be able to watch the flow of a general trial.

Outline what you want to say

Judges are usually lenient toward a layman who is representing himself. They will help and correct you if you are doing something wrong.

Get to the point fast

You’ll have to keep the judge’s attention. Don’t ramble on. Quickly describe what happened and state what you are requesting. Then double back and give more information if needed.

You Should Probably Not Represent Yourself in a Florida Court Case if:

  • Your situation is very complicated.
  • You’re not available during the day during business hours or won’t be able to get off from work.
  • You are unable to act professionally under stress.)

More Tips

  • Are you being sued? You will want to think about what your defense will be and carefully be able to outline it in your arguments. 
  • Remember to bring all of your files and information to court. You might need to look up something to answer a question from the judge.
  • Attend all hearings and get to the court on time. You cannot just reschedule a court hearing. If you miss a court date, it is possible that the judge will rule against you.
  • Dress conservatively and conduct yourself properly in the courtroom. You can speak only to the judge and when it is your turn.
  • Make sure that when you leave the courtroom, you know what just happened. What is going to happen next? Do you need to do anything more?

Conclusion on Representing Yourself in Court

With the help of South Florida Legal Doc Prep Services, it is possible to represent yourself in court; however, please know we are only legal document preparers, cannot give legal advice or represent you in court. Moreover, we will advise you to seek legal counsel and representation if we feel your matter is more complex in nature. Also, know that we are nonlawyers and are not responsible for the outcome of your case and accept no liability. 

This blog does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

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