How likely will a judge give a continuance on short notice if my counsel is not adequate?

Asked over 2 years ago - Harrisonburg, VA

I requested a court appointed counsel for a show cause hearing for viol. of misdemeanor probation. I have a suspended sentence of 90 days for 2nd DUI in 5 yrs and elevated BAC which I served 30 days for. I have called his office several times and left messages and he has yet to return any calls. My court date is on the 21st. I would ideally like to dismiss him as counsel and retain another lawyer rather than discussing the case 5 minutes before trial. I contacted the clerk and she said no and to contact my lawyer. If I go today before the Judge to request a continuance to retain counsel how likely is it to be granted? I would have requested before, but I did not imagine my lawyer would ignore me as he has. Also what is the specific things I should do to request(ie forms, letter, etc)

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Answered . My suggestion is that you NOT assume that the judge would grant you a continuance if the court date is tomorrow. There is no set rule for these things, but in general judges are not inclined to grant a continuance, particularly if a witness has been subpoenaed for the court date.

    My suggestion is that you hire a DUI lawyer TODAY and go to court with him/her tomorrow morning. At least you would have some opportunity to prepare for the trial and the privately retained lawyer can then ask for a continuance on your behalf. If the continuance is not granted, you can then have the privately retained lawyer represent you.

    Some court appointed lawyers do a good job for their clients. (In courts where there are full time public defenders, they usually are very dedicated and experienced.) However, court appointed lawyers are paid $150 per case -- not per hour -- and so it is often the case that they do a very minimal job representing criminal defendants.

Related Topics

Criminal defense

Criminal law establishes the classifications of crimes, how guilt or innocence is determined, and the types of punishment or rehabilitation that may be imposed.

Criminal court

A criminal court tries only criminal offenses, such as theft, assault and battery, or drug possession. Civil courts handle civil cases, such as lawsuits.

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