If you are charged with a crime, you are entitled to a court date to defend yourself against the charge. In the event that you could face jail time, you are entitled to defend yourself with the assistance of an attorney. The attorney may either be one that you hired or that was appointed to represent your interests. In most cases, a court date can be postponed if there are problems finding adequate legal counsel.
Not Having an Attorney Could Be Grounds for Appeal
One of the main reasons that a court date will be postponed if you can’t find an attorney is that the judge doesn’t want to provide grounds for appeal. Typically, the appeal will not take place in the same courtroom where your case is being tried the first time.
However, the judge in that case could be judged him or herself by those who review the appeal. Therefore, there is an incentive to get the case right the first time. Furthermore, getting an adequate and timely resolution to a case helps to keep the system moving efficiently.
In addition, the prosecution won’t want to take any steps that could jeopardize a conviction or any other favorable result in a case. This means that those who play a role in deciding your fate would rather go take a little extra time now to do things properly.
How Can I Have a Lawyer Appointed to Me?
There is no guarantee that a judge will allow you to work with a public defender. This is generally only allowed if you don’t have the financial resources to hire your own attorney. The judge in your case will likely ask for proof that you can’t afford adequate legal representation before providing you with free counsel.
It is important to note that a private attorney may be able to obtain a better result in a criminal case than a public defender. This is because private attorneys take on fewer clients and because they may specialize in one aspect of the law as opposed to taking on all cases assigned to him or her.
If you have not had a chance to meet with your private counsel or public defender, a judge will typically move your court date until a meeting occurs. This will give you a chance to better understand your plea options and create a defense to the charge or charges against you.
Court Dates May Be Postponed If You Switch Lawyers
In the event that you choose to switch to a different attorney, you will likely be able to postpone any future court dates in your case. This is because the new attorney will need time to review any evidence against you as well as talk to witnesses involved in the case.
Your new attorney will also need time to speak with you about the case and whether you want to testify in the matter. A judge may grant a continuance of a few days to a few weeks depending on the complexity of the case. The exact amount of time that your case may be delayed also depends on if you have already asked for delays in the matter.
You are allowed to switch attorneys for many different reasons, but a judge may be critical of your decision if it isn’t made in good faith. In other words, if the switch is seen as a deliberate attempt to stall proceedings, it could draw his or her ire. However, it is generally not a good idea to avoid a switch just because someone may be annoyed at you.
It is important that you get quality legal counsel in your criminal case. This is true even if it causes your original court date to be postponed one or more times. A quality attorney is generally one who believes in you and is committed to providing a zealous defense of whatever charges that you face.