If you are facing charges and cannot afford a private attorney, the court may appoint a public defender. While public defenders provide legal representation, some defendants may still wish to hire a private attorney.
In most cases, defendants with a public defender are still permitted to hire a private attorney. However, there are a few important factors to consider.
The earlier you hire a private attorney, the easier the transition will be. If you wait until close to trial, the court may not allow a change of counsel.
The public defender must file a motion to withdraw from your case before a private attorney can represent you.
Hiring a private attorney can be expensive. Understand the fees for their representation before you switch, including any required retainer.
The judge must approve the public defender’s withdrawal and your new attorney. The judge may deny the request if it could delay trial.
Changing your representation from a public defender to a private attorney also means that you will need to discuss a new trial strategy with your new attorney. Your existing strategy with your public defender will not automatically carry over, and your new attorney might have another idea for how to build your case.
Switching from a public defender to a private attorney may give you access to more resources and a more specialized defense. Understand the process and expectations for your defense so that you can make the choice that best fits your needs. Fight for your freedom with the representation that works best for you.