When And Why A Criminal Law Attorney Might Recuse Him- Or Herself And How That Affects Your Rights

Recusals are generally reserved for, but not limited to, judges. In rare instances, a criminal law attorney may recuse him- or herself for many of the same reasons as a judge might. If you hire a lawyer to defend you in criminal court, and then your lawyer suddenly recuses him- or herself, you have additional rights under U.S. law not otherwise granted. Your attorney may accuse himself for any of the following reasons, but it does not affect your rights to a fair and speedy trial.

The Right to Know Why Your Lawyer Cannot Help You

As long as your lawyer's reason does not involve another party in your case, you are entitled to ask why he or she will not defend you. In some instances, a lawyer's personal beliefs about your guilt and the knowledge he or she has regarding your supposed crimes stops him or her from being able to defend you in an objective manner. Despite the fact that you are innocent until proven guilty, your lawyer may feel that you are indeed guilty and is too close or too familiar to not be subjective about your case. He or she may tactfully decline your request for an answer, but sometimes the answer is that your lawyer is struggling with something personal and simply cannot defend you.

Your Lawyer Has Been Romantically Involved with You or Your Significant Other

Love affairs and legal matters do not mix. If you have had a physical relationship with your lawyer prior to hiring him or her, he or she is required by law to recuse him- or herself because of the potential for bias in your favor. Additionally, if he or she has knowledge of your case gained via an intimate relationship with your significant other, then a recusal is also in order.

Your Lawyer Has Something to Gain by Representing You

Other than his or her salary for representing you, your attorney should have nothing else to gain. If he or she is part of special interest group and will gain something by your representation, then your attorney must recuse him- or herself or the court will force it if it is discovered. You have every right to a new attorney, but you must be absolutely certain that your new attorney hasn't the least of connections to your case, or another recusal could happen.

Getting Another Criminal Defense Attorney and Going to Trial

In the event that your attorney recuses or is forced to recuse, you will be given an extension on your initial court hearing while you find another attorney and that attorney catches up on the case files and notes. If you were granted an opportunity to post bail, you may still have that chance while your case is postponed, but you might be on house arrest or limited to where you can go. Your new lawyer can discuss your options with you.

Criminal law attorneys, like Kirsten Swanson Atty, work with your specific case to get you the best outcome. However, if these conflicts of interest arise, they may have to resort to recusal.