Can I Settle My Criminal Case in Salt Lake City during COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
The COVID-19 pandemic has reached nearly 900,000 confirmed cases in the United States. With all the uncertainty surrounding when states will begin to open up establishments, many people with pending cases in the courts are wondering whether they can resolve their cases. Fortunately, there may be a way to resolve your criminal case through the use of a plea by affidavit. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your claim, contact an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer today. At Overson Law, PLLC, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the legal representation they deserve to manage their criminal cases. Our firm understands the difficulty of proceeding with a criminal case during these unpredictable times, and we are here to fight for you. Overson Law, PLLC is here to help you settle your criminal case during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Handling Your Criminal Case in Salt Lake City During Coronavirus Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many industries across the United States. For individuals that were in the midst of resolving a criminal case, there is uncertainty regarding whether the courts are still open. Fortunately, the State of Utah has made arrangements to continue operating during these unpredictable times.
Under the Utah Pandemic Order, the courts must remain open to the public, and in-person hearings may still be conducted under exigent circumstances. There is a number of cases that will be considered under the exigent circumstances standard:
- Domestic violence arraignments
- Domestic violence cases where the public may also be at risk and defendant monitoring is needed
- Cases involving drugged or drunk driving
This is not an exhaustive list. There are other scenarios that may be considered exigent circumstances.
Additionally, Utah courts are granting continuances in many cases, depending on the defendant’s situation. For example, if a defendant is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus or believes they were exposed to the virus, the court may issue a continuance for their case. Utah courts will also grant continuances to the following people that are highly susceptible to COVID-19:
- Individuals over the age of 60
- People living with diabetes
- People with heart or lung diseases
- Those with a weak immune system
- Pregnant mothers
If you wished to file an in-person court date, it would likely be scheduled much later in the year as the courts are concerned about the possibility of spreading the virus. Fortunately, it may be possible for an individual to file a plea by affidavit that will not require their presence in court. To learn more about filing a plea by affidavit during the COVID-19 pandemic, continue reading and speak with an experienced Salt Lake City third degree felony defense lawyer.
How Plea by Affidavits Work in Salt Lake City
In Utah, a defendant has the right to attend a court hearing regarding their criminal charges. However, it is also the right of the defendant to not be present during certain proceedings. Under these circumstances, a defendant may allow a defense attorney to stand in on their behalf.
A plea by affidavit allows a defendant to enter a plea by using a written statement. However, in order to file a plea by affidavit, there are various qualifications that a defendant must meet. For example, a defendant cannot submit a plea by affidavit unless they live outside of the State of Utah.
However, that are essential factors that must be considered when filing a plea by affidavit. One of the most important factors is whether a defendant plans to take their case to trial, or the defendant intends on arranging a plea deal with the prosecutor in the case.
If a defendant wants to go to trial, a plea by affidavit may not be the best option. A defendant may need to be present for certain pre-trial proceedings and other events like sentencing.
Alternatively, if a defendant is handling a minor criminal offense, a plea by affidavit may be the preferred method. The defendant will not have to travel back to the state, and their attorney will be able to handle their case. It is important to discuss with your attorney whether you should consider filing a plea by affidavit or consider handling the case in-person. However, the coronavirus epidemic complicates when a defendant will be able to get an in-court date.
Additionally, the prosecutor’s office will have its own requirements to determine whether a defendant should be permitted to file a plea by affidavit. An experienced attorney can help you determine whether you will qualify for this privilege.
Our firm can help you fight your criminal case. Whether you are accused of an infraction, misdemeanor, or serious felony, we can help you explore your defense options. Do not waste time in speaking with an attorney if you are eager to resolve your case during the coronavirus pandemic.
Work with Our Experienced Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a family member need legal assistance to settle a criminal case during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should consult with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney today. With over 16 years of criminal defense experience, skilled lawyer Darwin Overson is ready to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your case, contact Overson Law, PLLC, at (801) 758-2287.