Anyone who has ever been accused of a crime can tell you that one of the most important aspects is which attorney you have representing you. The attorney plays an enormous role in whether the case is won or lost. With this in mind, you may be wondering if you can change lawyers if you are unhappy with your current attorney. This guide will explain everything you need to know about this matter.
Generally, anyone is allowed to change the lawyer representing them at any time. The only thing that is needed to make this change is to ask permission from the judge. Do not worry, however, because judges almost always grant this request. Judges want everyone to have legal representation they are happy with. The key is to be as respectful as possible, both to the judge and to your current attorney. It is also a good idea to already have some idea of what attorney you wish to hire so you do not waste more of the court’s time than you have to.
When It Is Not Allowed
That being said, having the request granted is not a guarantee. In certain circumstances, the judge may deny the request. You should be prepared for this possibility. Here are the main reasons this might happen:
- The trial is nearly finished – One of the most common pieces of wisdom in the legal system is, “Judges do not like having their time wasted.” It takes time for a new attorney to get up to speed. If the trial is only a day or two away from ending, it is not worth it to bring in a new attorney. For this reason, you should make the request as soon as you realize you would like new legal representation.
- You have a bad reason – The judge is going to ask you why you want to change your lawyer, and simply saying that you are unhappy with your representation is not going to cut it. You will need to provide examples of what you are unhappy with. Additionally, any petty or illogical reasons for wanting the change will be shot down.
- You have already changed lawyers – This is another thing that wastes judges’ time. If you have changed your attorney once already, the chance of the request being granted a second time goes down considerably.
To avoid ending up in this situation, make sure you are happy with your criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA before the trial begins and never try to represent yourself. No special steps are needed to change lawyer before the case goes to trial.
Thanks to The Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and what to know about changing lawyers.