Is it Wise to Change Criminal Defense Attorneys Mid-Case?
You Can Change Criminal Defense Lawyers in the Middle of Your Case – but is it the best option?
There may come a time when defendants feel that the attorney whom they have hired for the case is not giving them a fair opportunity to defend themselves. It is a defendant’s right to a fair trial; therefore, a defendant can switch attorneys mid-case if he or she feels that it is necessary to have a fair trial. While there is no requirement that the court must first approve an attorney change, a defendant must consider all factors before switching criminal defense attorneys.
When is it Acceptable to Change Attorneys?
If you are unsatisfied with your current criminal defense lawyer, consider sitting down and talking with him or her about the issues. Sometimes, it is just a communication error that can easily be corrected. Other times, you may have to switch attorneys to get the level of services that you think you deserve. Some reasons defendants choose to switch attorneys mid-case include:
- The attorney is not familiar enough with his or her case.
- The attorney is drawing out the case longer and is requesting too many continuances.
- The case of the accused was transferred to a new associate in the law firm, and not the attorney who was initially hired.
- The defendant does not trust his or her attorney.
A Judge May Deny the Change
A judge can overrule your decision to swap attorneys mid-case and may not permit your changing attorneys, except in specific situations. For example, you may wish to hire a new attorney right before your trial begins, but this can make the case harder to try for the prosecution. Therefore, the judge may deny your request, because the delay will affect the prosecution’s witnesses.
In another scenario, the judge could deny if you have already switched criminal case attorneys several times during the case and have caused unnecessary delays. After all, your new attorney needs time to catch up on the case; therefore, the trial date might be pushed back several times until he or she has thoroughly investigated.
The Disadvantages of Switching Attorneys
There are serious disadvantages to consider before you swap attorneys. First, the attorney whom you have hired will require payment for services rendered. The new attorney will also require an upfront retainer. Your new criminal case lawyer will need time to review and catch up on the facts of the case. Therefore, it will cost more billable hours for review, possibly conduct interviews and investigations, and more.
Are You Not Satisfied with Your Current Attorney? Consult with a New Defense Attorney
If you are worried you are not receiving an adequate, fair representation in your case, meet with a defense lawyer from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices to explore your options. We can help by offering a free case evaluation, informing you of our defense strategies, and listening to your concerns.
Schedule a consultation appointment now by calling our offices at 505-375-4661 or requesting more information online.