The judge can't throw you in jail for not having a lawyer, but you may be forced to defend yourself. If so, you are much more likely to end up in jail than if you have a lawyer.
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Huuum. Most interesting. In my jurisdiction the judge would not let the attorney out of the case that close to trial if the only issue was non-payment of a fee.
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Your post raises ethical issues only tangentially, if at all. This is really a criminal law issue, so I am editing the practice area and tag you selected to insure that you get responses from criminal defense lawyers, who are those best able to address your issue. I am not competent to address yoour issue.
I don't think a judge can throw you in jail if you cant afford to retain counsel but he may make you proceed to trial without an attorney. Have you asked for a court appointed counsel??
The judge is not supposed to put you in jail for being indigent. That doesn't mean s/he won't do it. Have you never asked to apply for a court-appointed attorney? It certainly sounds like you need one. You're stuck because no attorney is going to sign on for the case at this point without a trial fee being paid in full upfront. And as one of my colleagues points out, many judges would not allow the new attorney to withdraw. He signed on to the case knowing it was set for trial. Collecting the fee is his problem.
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