Stay Or Go? When Should You Switch Lawyers?
Fighting a DUI charge is a serious undertaking, and you and your lawyer have to get along enough to get through the case. You don't have to be friends, but you have to be able to work with that lawyer in a constructive manner. Most of the time, the partnership works out, but there are times when lawyers and clients need to part ways. It's not always that easy to tell, though, whether you've reached a point where you really need to find another lawyer.
Lateness and Other Obvious Signs
Your lawyer is human, and as such may be late once in a while due to an emergency or have to meet with you a day later than you'd like because of the office's caseload. However, if the lawyer appears to not be filing forms, keeps interrupting your meetings to take phone calls, and so on, there is a point where that behavior is not acceptable. You could start off by specifically asking the lawyer what is going on; if you're not satisfied with the answer, make an appointment with another lawyer to go over your case so far (you'll need a copy of your case file). If that lawyer seems to be more responsive, you might want to start the process for switching lawyers.
You and your lawyer need to be on the same page regarding the goal or outcome of the trial. That does not mean that the lawyer has to pursue an obviously lost cause. In other words, if you truly were driving while very drunk, and the state has enough evidence to prove you guilty, you can't really order the lawyer to try to prove you weren't drunk. But it does mean, for example, that if you were charged with a DUI when you were really having a diabetic low blood sugar episode, which can mimic being drunk, you need a lawyer who will investigate that and gather evidence to show you were not drunk.
If your lawyer instead scoffs at that and tells you to accept a plea bargain and just deal with it, or some other such unsatisfactory outcome, then you need to switch lawyers.
Trial Start Date
Sometimes it's just too close to the start of the trial to switch lawyers. When you switch, you have to get the judge's OK, and most of the time, this isn't a problem if you can show why you want to change. But if the trial is very close, and you don't have another lawyer already willing to take on the case, you might not be able to switch. It is essential that you pay attention to any warning signs early on so that you have time to switch lawyers if needed.
All partnerships can have bad days, so don't be discouraged if you experience an occasional disagreement with your lawyer. But if you are truly facing a difficult legal representative and would like to see about changing to another lawyer, start looking around as soon as you can. The more time the new lawyer has to work on your case, the better.
Contact a law office like Knochel Law Offices PC for more information and assistance.