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Right To Self-Representation

A. Invoking the Right to Self-Representation by Waiving the Right to Counsel

1. Eligibility for Right to Self-Representation
All defendants who are “literate, competent, and understanding” may invoke the implied Sixth Amendment right to self-representation, as long as they provide a “knowing, intelligent, and voluntary” waiver of their Sixth Amendment right to counsel. For a waiver to be valid, such defendants must be made aware of the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation by the trial court

2. Invoking Right & Losing Right
A defendant must invoke the right to self-representation in a timely manner before trial, to allow the prosecution enough time to prepare for this type of trial. After granting the right, a trial judge may decide that the defendant must forfeit the right because of “obstructionist” tactics that disrupt proceedings.

3. Notice of the Right to Self-Representation
Most jurisdictions do not require that a defendant must be informed of the right to self-representation.

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