You Have Attorney Options

IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH YOUR CURRENT ATTORNEY, WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?

You have the right to hire a private attorney if the one you have is court appointed. If you are not happy with a court appointed attorney, the court will not generally entertain a request to appoint a different one. If you are not paying for his services you don't get to be too picky. If you are unhappy with an attorney that you have hired you have the right to hire a new one to replace the first one.

However, this can be a difficult situation. It is important to remember that most criminal defense lawyers charge a flat fee and not an hourly rate and are reluctant to return the fee after it is paid. If you find yourself in this situation, you should start by having a frank discussion with the lawyer to see if there is a way to fix the problem that you have with his representation. Tell the lawyer why you are not satisfied. Many times, there may simply be a misunderstanding of the goals or the process that can be resolved with a phone call. In this way you will avoid possibly losing the money you have paid and still needing to hire another attorney.

If necessary you should also read your fee contract to see what it says about early termination of the attorney/client relationship. You may suggest that the lawyer return a portion of your fee so that you can hire another lawyer. It is generally a good practice to notify the attorney in writing that you wish to terminate his representation and notify any new attorney that you hire that you had another attorney on this case previously. You can request a copy of your file from the first attorney so that you can present any information already obtained to the new attorney.