3.0 Representing Yourself at Trial

3.0 Representing Yourself at Trial

It can be intimidating to go to court to advocate for yourself—it often seems like everything is stacked against you. But this isn’t necessarily the case.

There is a duty for courts to provide meaningful assistance to unrepresented or self-represented persons. This means that the court (not the prosecution) are obligated to help you defend yourself, because of the disadvantages you face.

It is also worth noting that the person hearing your case is not a judge, but a justice of the peace. You do not need to be a lawyer to be a justice of the peace, and you do not require any formal legal training.

Prosecutors in traffic court are not usually lawyers either. They are simply public service workers of the city, who also do not have formal legal training.

Although sometimes, it may feel like the system is rigged against you, with some minimal preparation you can defend yourself effectively.