What do I need to do to get a new public defender in Washington? 5 Answers as of April 15, 2011

If I am unhappy with the way my public defender is defending me, can I ask for new representation? I will be going to court soon because of a domestic violence incident. I am unhappy my PD because is not doing his job. If this becomes apparent during trial, can I fire him and ask for new representation?

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Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC
Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC | Lisa Mulligan
The Court has the power to assign a different public defender to your case if there is a "breakdown of communication" between you and your current lawyer. You should talk to your PD about this process as soon as possible, because judges are more reluctant to change attorneys when a case is too old or if it is too close to the trial date. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 4/15/2011
Mercado & Hartung
Mercado & Hartung | Stephanie Hartung
The Judge is in charge of appointing counsel to you. Since, you are not required to use the services provided by a public defender you are not allowed to choose your public defender. It is only in very limited and extreme situations that a Judge will allow the public defender to withdraw and provide you with a different attorney, however, you are always allowed to hire an attorney of your own choosing.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 4/15/2011
Law Office of Bill Montecucco
Law Office of Bill Montecucco | Bill Montecucco
If you fire your public defender, you are not entitled to another lawyer free of charge. An assault IV - DV conviction typically requires a lengthy domestic violence treatment program and includes loss of the right to bear arms as well as some type of work program or jail time and a fine. Public defenders are paid a small flat fee per case and have a tough time juggling their time to best represent all of their clients.

Competent defense attorneys are usually busy and charge on an hourly basis ranging from approximately $180 per hour and up depending upon their experience, availability and reputation. Case law regarding reasonable use of force to protect personal property can be found online through legalWA.org. It can be very difficult to put the information found in case law into a usable form, however. The pattern jury instructions cover that issue, but organizing and presenting at trial without an attorney is usually a losing battle if you have not been through it a few times. If you would like, please give my office a call.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/19/2011
Law Office of Aaron Nielson
Law Office of Aaron Nielson | Aaron Nielson
You can ask for a new attorney but some courts don't have multiple public defenders to assign. Many judges also don't like to let you just change public defenders. If they let everyone change it would just cause them lots of problems.

If you don't like the attorney they assigned you your best option is to hire your own attorney. I understand you probably don't have a lot of money since you were appointed a public defender but many attorneys have financing options or you can try to get help from family. It is usually well worth it to fight a domestic violence charge.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/17/2011
Andersen Law PLLC
Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
Your opportunities to have someone different to represent you are not good. The right to counsel is generally limited to a competent attorney. If you are unhappy with your attorney, You can ask the court for another attorney but you will have to show a conflict. Your only other option is to hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/17/2011
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