Personal Injury Lawyer
Every professional relationship experiences conflict from time-to-time, but that does not necessarily mean separation is in order. However, for criminal defendants, emotions get amplified because of the stakes. The attorney-client relationship is fragile, and trust in the competence of your attorney can become shaky, especially during the prosecution’s arguments. Being accused of a crime, especially when innocent, is frustrating, and it can be challenging to hear lies or accusations thrown your way without interjection. While your defense attorney knows your case and is likely doing their best, sometimes you may feel a need to change lawyers. Thankfully, most contracts include a termination clause, but you must understand that there are circumstances where replacing an attorney is and is not possible.
In most instances, when you hire an attorney, you have the right to terminate your contract whenever you see fit. The contract you sign with your lawyer will have a termination clause built-in. However, it is crucial to understand that any fees or expenses that have added up during your lawyer’s time arguing and preparing your case will be due upon the conclusion of your agreement. Therefore, while you have a right to fire a personal hire, doing so may be more expensive than expected.
The termination of a court-appointed attorney is not so easy. Since court-appointed lawyers are provided as a service to the criminal defendant, you need to prove cause for removal. While you may not like your attorney, if they have followed the law and provided an adequate and competent defense, then a judge will not remove them from your case. However, that does not mean you are stuck with them. If you genuinely feel that your case is suffering because of inadequate or prejudicial counsel, then you can make the argument to the judge. You can also request time to search for outside representation. Many law firms and criminal defense attorneys may offer pro bono work for the right cases.
Progression of the Trial
A judge does have the power to disregard a defendant’s request for new counsel, especially if they feel that changing attorney could hurt the defense’s case. A judge is often reluctant to allow attorney changes at the late stages of the case because doing so may not provide the new legal team enough time to finish the case. Before changing attorneys, consider how far along your trial is, and how a sudden change in representation could affect the jury.
While it can be challenging to commit to a single attorney, know that having a unified and singular defense strategy is the best option for fighting criminal charges. Consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, like from the Law Office of Daniel Wright, to discuss strategy.