I get calls from people all the time who say the same thing: I'm not happy with my attorney.
The attorney-client relationship is exactly that. A relationship. Like all relationships, not every one works out. You may find that your attorney is not attentive to your needs or is pushing you toward a resolution that you are not happy with. Some people find their attorneys to be lazy. Some find their attorneys to be downright unprofessional, such as not returning your calls or even failing to show up for court.
Like all professions, there are good attorneys and bad attorneys. You may have hired an attorney for your criminal case but now realize that things are not working out the way you would like them to. Are you stuck with the lawyer you have?
No. Most judges will permit a substitution of counsel. That is, a new attorney who has been hired can take over the case from the old attorney. If the case is older, the judge may want to see the new attorney prepared for trial more quickly than normal as they do not want to see the case continue to age.
You may also hire a private attorney even if you have been represented by the public defender. You may hire a private attorney at any time, provided you or your family has the financial ability to do so.
When you hire a criminal defense attorney, you are making an investment in your life. You may be facing charges that carry substantial prison time, sometimes even life. You may face charges that carry a mandatory sentence.
It is important that you have a good relationship with your attorney. Your attorney should, at the least, be willing to talk with you about your case and explain all options in a way that you can understand. Your attorney should be willing to take your calls. As well, your attorney should always show up for court and if unable to attend, send a coverage attorney after giving you prior notice of their unavailability.
However, you must decide whether you want to salvage the relationship or hire a new attorney. Hiring a new attorney entails paying a new attorney's fee, which may be more, less, or equal to the fee you have already paid.
If you worry that your attorney may not be competent to represent you, then get rid of them. If your differences are personal, such as lack of communication, talk to them and express your concerns. Attorneys are human and sometimes we need to be reminded by our clients if we are not meeting their expectations.
However, if you are facing serious charges and you feel that your attorney is not the right one for the job, you may want to consider finding a new one.