The lawyer for Robert Chambers (search), the "preppie killer" who was arrested last week on charges of drug possession and driving with a suspended license, resigned from the Chambers' case Monday so his client can hire a criminal defense lawyer.

"The is a very serious case and the prosecutor has said he is looking for jail time," lawyer Brian O'Dwyer, a civil attorney, said in explaining his withdrawal from the case. "We're not criminal specialists, and we thought he needed one."

Manhattan Criminal Court (search) Judge Larry Stephen scheduled Chambers' next court appearance for Jan. 24. The defendant remained free on $1,000 bail.

Chambers, 38, was arrested after he was stopped Nov. 23 around 7:15 p.m. at 140th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem (search). He was charged with two misdemeanors, alleged possession of a small amount of cocaine and unlicensed driving.

A court complaint said a computer check showed that Chambers' license was suspended in May after he failed to answer a summons for running a red light. The complaint also said police found two straws and a tinfoil packet, all containing cocaine residue, in the back seat of Chambers' car.

Chambers was released from state prison on Valentines Day 2003 after serving 15 years for the 1986 strangling of 18-year-old of Jennifer Levin during a tryst in Central Park.

After a jury deliberated more than a week on a murder charge against Chambers following his trial in 1988, he pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter.