An attorney can't request a continuance unless he/she represents you on the case. You could always request to have the court date continued, although it sounds like you aren't able to make it to court. It will obviously be difficult to retain an attorney on such short notice, but if you did them the attorney could explain to the judge why you weren't able to make it to court. Hopefully the judge would then decline to issue a warrant.
Only the attorney of record in the case can do that, and no good attorney would become attorney of record in a case with being retained (and paid) first. Perhaps you could qualify for help from the Public Defender? You could retain a private criminal lawyer later. You can try to reschedule the court date on your own, though it's tougher to do on such short notice.
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Tricia Dwyer, Esq.
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