Most judges will let you hire a new attorney at any time as long as it doesn't delay the case. Any attorney you hire will need enough time to get prepared. Hire an experienced DUI attorney as DWI /DUI law is getting more complicated.
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The criminal system, at all levels, is very accommodating to changes of counsel, because of the constitutional right to counsel in criminal cases. If you are awaiting a preliminary hearing there is NO problem in hiring private counsel. Most lawyers who participate here offer free, if limited, consultations. Start interviewing candidates for the job of representing you without delay. Good luck.
Both the judge and the public defender will be delighted if you retain private counsel. The only time changing from appointed to retained counsel would be a problem is if you wanted to bring in a new attorney on the very eve of trial, so as to cause the trial to be delayed. It does not sound like that is your situation at all. Talk to a few attorneys who handle DUI cases and choose one with whom you feel comfortable. My colleague is correct that DUI work has become something of a sub-specialty in recent years.
My colleagues are correct, the change in counsel is very feasible if you are proactive in the change before your case advances much further. Good luck.
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