St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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Self-Represented Defendant Gets Conviction Tossed

Criminal defense lawIn the United States court system, defendants are free to act as their own attorneys. This is almost universally a bad decision; unless the defendant is himself a lawyer, the chances of him providing adequate and effective legal representation are slim to none. Finding a criminal defense attorney in Berrien County is a much better option for those facing time in a courtroom.

Still, cases of people acting as their own attorneys do occasionally arise, usually with disastrous results. Take, for example, the case of Jimmy Aldaoud. Charged with home invasion, Aldaoud decided to become his own attorney and reportedly spent months studying law books. When he was (inevitably) convicted and sentenced to at least three years in prison, Aldaoud then appealed the decision on the grounds that the judge did not fully explain the risk of his acting as his own counsel and did not make clear the length of a possible prison sentence.

The Michigan Court of Appeals agreed, noting that there are verifiable, important steps that must be followed when a defendant chooses to represent him or herself. In this particular case, the county judge did not adequately explain the sentence. It would seem in this case that the defendant was lucky in how his case played out, but we cannot stress enough that it is always better to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney rather than risking your future by representing yourself in the court of law. The potential consequences of a felony conviction go far beyond the actual sentence — felony convictions can follow you for the rest of your life.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with one our experienced and reputable criminal defense attorneys please contact Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC at 269.982.1100 or visit We are here to help.

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