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Frederick J. Brynn, P.C.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Most people never expect to be involved in a court case. Because of this, many people do not know how the process works. One very common question is whether someone can change their lawyer in the middle of the trial. Of course, anyone is able to change lawyer before the trial begins, but once it does get underway, do you have the option to change lawyers or do you have use the same attorney until the end of the trial? This may seem like a simple question on the surface, but it is surprising how few people know the answer.

Changing Your Attorney

You are usually allowed to change your attorney at any time during the trial. However, it is the judge that must give you permission. This means that a particular judge may deny this request for a variety of reasons. Typically, however, it is very rare for a judge to deny the request. If you want to change your attorney, the first step is to ask the judge for permission. You should discuss with your current attorney to be sure you ask permission at the correct time and in the correct way.

Why the Request May Be Denied

The most important thing to remember is that you should not delay at all. The most common reason for a judge to deny the request for a new attorney is because there is not enough time in the trial. It takes time for a new attorney to get up to speed. If the trial is very close to being finished, there may simply not be enough time for a new attorney to get set up. As soon as you decide you want a new criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA, you should make the request to avoid this situation.

Another common reason for the request to be denied is if you have already changed attorneys. Judges really do not like having their time wasted and changing lawyers is a time consuming process. Changing lawyers excessively will greatly extend the length of any trial.

It is important to understand that the judge can deny this request for any reason. While the two reasons listed above account for the vast majority of times this request may be denied, it is possible that unique circumstances may prevent you from changing your attorney. For example, the judge may decide your reason for wanting a new attorney is invalid or the judge may think changing attorneys would only hurt your chances and deny the request for your own good.


Thanks to the Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and changing your attorney after your trial has begun.

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