Do You Have to Go to Utah Criminal Court During Coronavirus?
During the last few months, Utah has experienced an emergency like no other. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the socioeconomic and legal landscape in a short time. This unfortunate situation has caused the criminal justice system to reevaluate and create new ways to keep courts working without risking spreading the viral disease. Fortunately, Utah courts have reacted quickly and have put new rules in place. You may wonder how these new rules may affect your existing case. Our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys at the law offices of Overson Law, PLLC, invite you to keep reading as we discuss whether you have to go to court during coronavirus in Utah.
Attendance Requirements for Utah Criminal Court During Coronavirus
People facing criminal charges in Utah during the COVID-19 pandemic may wonder how the court will proceed with their cases. Certainly, the pandemic has generated a lot of discussion and doubt among the general population. However, it is essential to pay close attention to all of the information disclosed by your local and state government. Utah’s governor put out a general order asking everyone to remain at home for as long as they can. You are allowed to go out and do essential things like grocery shopping and picking up your medication, but you should otherwise stay home.
People found in violation of this government order can be found guilty of a Class B misdemeanor punishable with up to 6 months in jail plus criminal fines. This is not to be confused with the now-eliminated ordinance punishing gatherings of ten or more people. Utah courts have also taken safety measures during the pandemic to make sure they keep running while minimizing the risk of spreading the disease.
According to the Administrative Order emitted by Utah’s Supreme Court, all courthouses will remain open to the general public to provide their services. For safety reasons, only people without symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 may enter the courthouse. Additionally, the courts can keep accepting filings in person or electronically through e-filing. Any petitions an individual wishes to file, such as a notice of a criminal appeal in Salt Lake City, should be made with the court. In this specific situation, the petitioner will need to call their county’s court to make any appropriate arrangements.
According to Utah’s Supreme Court, there may be circumstances that may require in-person hearings. If exigent circumstances require an in-person hearing, the court will conduct it following Utah’s Supreme Court order. Keep in mind the court may require a different approach if necessary due to the coronavirus pandemic. For instance, you may be required to participate in your hearing via teleconference. You may be required to call in to schedule a hearing, and your lawyer can walk you through this process. Keep in mind that your jury trial may be cancelled or might go on as scheduled, but you might not know immediately as circumstances continue to change.
Entering a Plea Bargain in a Utah Criminal Case during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Many defendants have doubts regarding their pending criminal cases. If you were charged with DUI in Salt Lake City or another offense such as rape or assault in Salt Lake City, you may wonder what you can expect from your criminal case moving forward. Utah courts have made it possible for defendants to resolve their cases utilizing different alternatives to an in-person hearing. In addition to having your case heard through teleconference, defendants can also file what is known as a plea by affidavit.
A plea by affidavit is a method used by courts in cases where an in-person hearing may impose a burden on the defendant. During the pandemic, Utah courts have allowed attorneys the liberal use of this legal recourse until June 1, 2020. A plea by affidavit can be sent to the court by mail.
In order to get the benefit of pleading by affidavit, you must consult with the court first. Once you receive approval from the court, your lawyer will need to complete the corresponding forms. Once you have filled out your form, you should send it to your county’s court. The prosecution will move ahead with the criminal proceedings against you following Utah’s criminal procedure rules. Once the prosecution has presented their evidence, the judge will read your plea in open court and render the appropriate ruling.
How Can a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me During Coronavirus?
Facing Utah’s criminal justice system can be overwhelming and confusing. Dealing with criminal law during the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be even more difficult. With new rules in place, handling your criminal case requires the assistance of a skilled Utah criminal defense lawyer.
Since there are restrictions in place preventing gatherings at the court, you may need to retain the services of a criminal defense attorney to handle your case remotely. Keep in mind during this time that special rules require quick action on the defendant’s part. Your attorney can make sure you remain compliant with any regulations set forth by Utah courts and help you get through your case.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers Offering Free Consultations During Coronavirus
While the situation regarding coronavirus may have slowed Utah criminal courts, you need to stay on top of your case. No matter the status of Utah criminal courts, you need to make sure to meet any requirements required in your specific situation. Our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC can help you handle your case during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to our many years of experience handling criminal cases in Utah, we have developed the skills necessary to defend your rights. Call our law offices today at (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free case consultation.