"QUESTION: I hired a private lawyer to represent me, but cannot continue paying him. Can the lawyer withdraw from the case over my objection?
ANSWER: Possibly, subject to approval by the judge. Professional rules in many states allow a lawyer to withdraw from the case if the client fails to pay the lawyer's fees, or if continuing to represent the client causes financial hardship to the lawyer.
However, before a judge permits a lawyer to withdraw from a case, the lawyer usually has to give a client sufficient advance warning to give the client time to hire a new attorney.
A judge MIGHT not permit the attorney to withdraw at all under these circumstances:
(1) The attorney seeks to withdraw on the eve of trial;
(2) The attorney has put in so much work on a case that the client would be prejudiced by having to start all over with another lawyer; or
(3) The client has already paid substantial legal fees to a lawyer and is financially unable to pay additional fees." -From, "The Criminal Law Handbook" By: Bergman & Berman-Barrett