Can defendant change court-appointed lawyer in NC before trial begins?

Asked on June 9, 2009 under Criminal Law, North Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

For a trial , yes you can.  However it has to be a compelling interest, something along the lines of conflict of interest or incompetency, merely being dissatisfied due to lack of communication or personality differences is not enough.  The general rule that discharge of court appointed counsel and substitution of new counsel is for the court, in its discretion, to decide.  As long as the court has a reasonable basis for believing the attorney-client relation has not deteriorated to a point where appointed counsel can no longer give effective aid and fair representation, the court is justified in refusing to appoint new counsel.


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yup he can certainly try, in any criminal court based on ineffective counsel.  However, once he makes his motion, depending on how far the case has gone, how much trial prep, the evidence, the level of review by your current attorney, whether the judge is a strong advocate of changing lawyers mid case, etc, you may or may not get a change in counsel.

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