If my case is about to go to trial with a Public defender, can I hire a regular attorney now?

Long Story short, I am a veteran with PTSD who after a major injury self-medicated with prescription drugs. I wrote a hot check for an RV, then when the loan fell through I thought I had to cover the cost, I sold it with the title. I spent the money on meds. I am clean now and my public defender isn’t interested in details. I have been given the ultimatum to pay or go to trial next week. I am employed again and have money for an attorney but not enough to pay the $30,000.00 they want me to pay. They upgraded the charge to theft and a Class C felony. I have asked for a plea but it will only be given if I pay the money. I have no other criminal record. I am living in AL but the case is in AR. Can I somehow hire an attorney now or is it too late?

Asked on December 4, 2018 under Criminal Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If trial is scheduled for next week, you would need the court's permission or leave to hire a new lawyer and also to delay ("adjourn") the trial to give the new attorney time to "get up to speed" on the case. Once you get anything like this close to the trial date, courts are wary of delay tactics; they don't want the defendant doing things solely to delay. You can ask for permission to change attorneys and get extra time, but will have to convince the court that doing so is justified and warranted.

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