03 Oct 23

What to Do if Your St. Petersburg Criminal Lawyer Quits Your Case

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Last Updated on: 3rd November 2023, 07:12 pm

What to Do if Your St. Petersburg Criminal Lawyer Quits Your Case

Getting arrested is scary enough, but having your lawyer quit on you when your freedom is on the line? That’s a nightmare. Don’t panic though – you have options. This article will walk you through what to do if your St. Petersburg criminal lawyer quits your case.

Try to Get Them to Reconsider

First things first, see if you can get your lawyer to reconsider quitting. There may be a misunderstanding or disagreement you can work through. Schedule a meeting and have an open and honest conversation about why they want to stop representing you. Listen to their concerns and explain why having their experience on your side means so much, especially now. Offer compromises if you can. With some luck, they may decide to stay on the case.

Ask for a Referral

If your lawyer is dead set on quitting, ask them to refer you to another competent attorney. Explain that you relied on their expertise, and it would only be right for them to connect you with someone they trust to take over. A personal referral goes a long way in the legal community. It may convince a new lawyer to take your case quickly.

Contact the Public Defender

If your lawyer won’t budge on quitting and refuses to give you a referral, call the public defender’s office immediately. Explain your situation and that you need representation right away. They may be able to assign your case quickly, though their caseloads are usually heavy. Public defenders don’t have the time and resources of private attorneys but are still qualified attorneys with trial experience.

Look for Someone Who Specializes in Your Type of Case

For a serious felony charge, you may want to hire a new private criminal defense lawyer rather than use a public defender. Look for an attorney who specializes in defending the specific charges you face. For example, if you’re charged with domestic battery, find a lawyer experienced with domestic violence cases. Their expertise can make all the difference.


Ask Friends or Family for Recommendations

Reach out to friends, family, coworkers or anyone else you trust who may have hired a criminal lawyer before. Ask them if they were satisfied with their legal representation and would recommend the attorney. Retaining a lawyer with glowing reviews from people you know is ideal.

Search Online Reviews

Another place to look is online reviews. Search for criminal defense lawyers in your area and read reviews on Google, Facebook, Avvo, and other sites. Pay attention to how many cases they’ve handled similar to yours and their win/loss rate. Contact lawyers who have consistently positive reviews.

Check Their Disciplinary History

Before hiring a new lawyer, always check their disciplinary history with the Florida Bar Association. Make sure they don’t have serious complaints against them or any suspensions of their license. You want an attorney in good standing who will handle your case ethically.

Ask About Their Experience

Interview any lawyer you’re considering to gauge their experience with cases like yours. Ask:

  • How many years have you been practicing criminal law?
  • What percentage of your caseload is dedicated to criminal defense?
  • How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past 5 years?
  • What are some case results you’ve gotten for clients facing charges like mine?

Their answers will help you determine if they have the right skills and track record.

Make Sure You Can Afford Them

Before officially retaining a new criminal defense lawyer, discuss fees and payment options. Their rates may be higher than your previous attorney’s. Ask if they offer payment plans or take credit cards. You don’t want to be stuck with legal bills you can’t afford down the road.

Have Them Formally Substitute In

Once you choose a new lawyer, have them file a motion to substitute counsel right away. This makes them your official attorney of record, replacing the lawyer who quit. The court must approve the substitution for it to take effect.

Fill Them in on Your Case

Next, schedule a long meeting with your new attorney to brief them on your case. Bring copies of all documents, evidence, notes from past lawyer meetings – anything that will get them up to speed quickly. The more background you can provide, the faster they can prepare your defense.

Ask About Their Defense Strategy

A major benefit of hiring a new lawyer is getting a fresh perspective on your defense. Ask how they plan to fight the charges and what approach they think gives you the best chance of success. Their strategy may be more aggressive or creative than what your previous lawyer proposed.

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Be Totally Honest

It’s critical that you are 100% open and honest with your new criminal defense attorney. Don’t hold anything back – even facts that may hurt your case. The lawyer can’t help you if they don’t know all the details. Your confidentiality is protected under attorney-client privilege.

Stay in Close Contact

Make sure to stay in regular touch with your new lawyer leading up to your court date. Update them on any developments in your case. Confirm dates and times for upcoming hearings. Ask questions if you have any. Keeping the lines of communication open helps avoid any surprises.

Having your lawyer withdraw from your case at the last minute is scary and frustrating. But it doesn’t have to spell doom. Follow these steps, and you can get qualified legal representation to keep fighting for your best interests. With an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, you can still achieve the best possible outcome.


Check Lawyer Disciplinary History – Florida Bar

Florida Statute 27.53 – Appointment of Public Defenders

Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure – Rule 2.505 Substitution of Attorney