Can I Fire My Public Defender?

Fire a public defender

Can I Fire My Public Defender?

In the United States, criminal defendants have the right to an attorney to represent them. Those who are unable to afford private representation will have a public defender appointed to them by the court, free of charge. This right is protected under the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

However, defendants who choose to have a public defender appointed to them cannot choose which specific attorney they will be assigned to.

If a defendant feels dissatisfied with their court-appointed attorney, they have the option to hire a private attorney or to ask the court to provide them with a different public defender. Defendants may file a motion for a change in public defender or may request the change to the judge directly, whether in written form or during a court proceeding.

When choosing whether to appoint a new public defender, the court will consider issues such as whether or not the problem between the defendant and their attorney is a simple miscommunication or a genuine conflict, whether or not a change of public defender would remedy the defendant’s problem, the current timing of the case in relation to trial, and whether the defendant has made frequent requests for new representation.

Courts are not required to appoint a new public defender to a defendant who requests it.

Defendants who are represented by a court-appointed public defender can switch to representation by a private attorney if they so choose. Once hired, the new attorney will contact the current public defender assigned to the case for sign-off and will then file a Substitution of Counsel with the court to announce themselves as the new replacement Counsel. However, private attorneys will not substitute themselves into a case unless they feel they can confidently bring themselves up to date on the issues and sufficiently proceed with the next stage without causing a delay in the proceedings, particularly when it comes to trial dates.

If you are currently working with a public defender and are considering switching to representation by a private attorney, reach out to Rideout Law Group today.



With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
  • top experts reviewing your case.
  • aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time.

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.



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