Represent yourself

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Represent yourself

A friend has been charged with possession with intent and DUI/wreckless driving with damage to property and has mental illness undiagnosed and is going to represent herself and request for a psychological evaluation. I think she is making a bad decision without a lawyer. Is it legitimate that a judge would honor this request from someone representing themselves?

Asked on December 26, 2018 under Criminal Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

As long as she has not been declared or found to be mentally incompetent, she can represent herself. The issue is not whether she has a mental illness--many people do; according to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in six Americans has some kind of mental illness--but whether she understands the court proceedings and can make decisions in her own interest or in line with her own desires and wishes. Since people are considered competent unless and until found to be incompetent, the presumption is that she understands what is going one, can make decisions, and so can represent herself.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption