How Does Changing Lawyers Work?

How Does Changing Lawyers Work?

Criminal Defense Attorney

Let’s say you are partway through a court case and you decide that your lawyer is not satisfying your needs. What options do you have? Is it possible to switch lawyers in the middle of a court case? What if you are being represented by a public defender? This short guide will answer all the questions you have about changing your legal representation.

Changing Private Lawyers

If you have hired a private lawyer, you have almost complete freedom over changing your representation. You have essentially hired someone to do a service, so you absolutely have the right to fire your old lawyer and hire a new criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA. There are, however, a few consequences you should be aware of:

  • It can be expensive.
  • It delays court cases.
  • The judge may not allow it.

Remember that your new lawyer will need time to catch up on the case if he or she enters it in the middle. You will need to pay for this time. Likewise, you will need to pay for all the work your previous lawyer completed prior to being fired. Sometimes, the judge will not allow you to change lawyers, although this usually only happens if you are changing lawyers excessively or if you want to change lawyers very late in the court case. The judge ultimately has final say over this issue, so it is subject to the particular judge’s ideals. However, it is very rare that a judge will not allow a private lawyer to be exchanged. Additionally, the judge only has a say in the matter if the court case has already begun. Before the lawsuit goes to court, you can change lawyers freely.

Changing Public Defenders

If you are being represented by a public defender, there are stricter restrictions on when you can change your representation. Essentially the only way you can do it is by writing a letter to the judge requesting the change. You need to have a very good reason for the request, rather than simply not liking your public defender’s representation style. It needs to be a legitimate concern for your legal case, or a serious conflict between the two of you. Once again, it is completely at the judge’s discretion whether or not this change in legal representation is allowed. Whether you are being represented by a private lawyer or a public defender, it is always a good idea to speak with your representation about the conflict before firing them.

Thanks to The Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal defense and changing lawyers.

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