Individuals who cannot afford to retain their own attorneys may ask the court to appoint them an attorney. This attorney, sometimes referred to as a court-appointed attorney or public defender, is tasked with representing the interests of the defendant throughout their criminal proceedings and attempting to achieve the best possible outcome for the defendant – much as a retained or hired lawyer would do.
Whether your attorney is appointed by the court or you have hired your own attorney, though, you may feel dissatisfied with the service and representation you are receiving. It is possible under certain circumstances to request a new attorney, but there are drawbacks to doing so. Understanding when you can and cannot – and why you should and should not – switch attorneys in the middle of your case can help you make an informed decision on the matter.
Changing Attorneys Means Delays in Resolving Your Case
Any time that you decide you want a new lawyer to represent you in your case, the resolution of your case will almost certainly be delayed. It does not matter if you have a public defender and are requesting a new attorney to be appointed, or you are looking to retain your own attorney. This is because it takes time for a new attorney to meet with you, receive law enforcement reports and other discoverable material, and get up to sped with where the case is at procedurally. The more complex the evidence and issues in your case, the longer it can take an attorney to be prepared to move forward.
Not All Disagreements Necessitate a New Attorney
There are certain disagreements and dissatisfactions that almost always lead to a new attorney either being appointed or hired. When your attorney ceases to communicate with you about your case altogether, or insists that you accept a plea offer that you do not wish to take, it may be impossible for the attorney-client relationship to effectively continue. In these circumstances, a court may allow your present attorney to withdraw and allow a new attorney to step in to represent you.
Other squabbles may not be so serious as to warrant the withdraw of your present attorney. An attorney who does not return every call or answer every letter may nonetheless be an effective advocate for your interests. An attorney who voices disagreement with the defense you wish to present at a trial or who is legally or ethically prohibited from introducing certain evidence you wish to present is likewise unlikely to be replaced.
Ultimately, the Court Decides the Matter
Ultimately, it is up to the court hearing your case to decide if there has been a complete breakdown in the relationship between you and your attorney and whether you should be afforded the opportunity to work with a new attorney. If the court does not believe your disagreement is serious enough, or if the court believes you are attempting to unnecessarily delay the case or attempting to gain some sort of unfair advantage in your case.
What to Expect from Dawes Legal, LLC
The experienced and knowledgeable Columbus criminal defense team at Dawes Legal, LLC expends every effort to keep you informed about the progress of your criminal case. We will regularly discuss your options and defense strategies with you, giving you the benefit of our years of experience so that you may make the most informed decision possible. We will fight hard to help you secure the best outcome in your case considering the evidence as well as your interests and goals. Contact our office at (614) 733-9999 to learn more about our services and approach.