What Happens if My Criminal Court Date Got Delayed in Salt Lake City Because of Coronavirus?
The global coronavirus pandemic has caused leaders around the world to take drastic action to reduce the spread of the virus. Here in Salt Lake City, the governor and the mayor have required the closure of non-essential businesses and mandated that people stay at home except for required activities like grocery shopping. The court system has also been greatly impacted. Many folks with upcoming criminal court dates are uncertain about whether or not they will be required to show up for court during the pandemic.
At Overson Law, PLLC, our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys have been keeping on top of all the latest developments regarding the status of the court system. We will do everything in our power to keep your case moving forward to a positive resolution, even if some of it must occur remotely. Call us today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.
The Status of Salt Lake City Criminal Courts During the Coronavirus
The work of the Salt Lake City criminal court system has been severely curtailed by the virus and the subsequent social distancing mandates. To keep lawyers, court staff, and defendants safe, most in-person proceedings have been rescheduled or postponed. Matters considered emergent, such as hearings regarding in-custody defendants and motions for stay-away orders in Salt Lake City domestic violence cases, continue to be held in person in some cases. In other cases, hearings and other matters, including bench trials in some cases, are being conducted remotely over videoconferencing systems.
If you have an upcoming criminal court date, do not assume it is cancelled or postponed just because of the pandemic. If you do not already have a lawyer, now is the time to retain one. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC can reach out to court staff and the local prosecutor to figure out what the status of your case is, whether you are required to appear either in-person or remotely at your upcoming proceeding, and if there is anything that can be done to advance your case at this time.
What to Do if Your Salt Lake City Criminal Case Has Been Postponed
If the next step in your case was the start of an actual jury trial, you are going to have to wait at least a little while longer. No juries are currently being empaneled in the state and so no jury trials are currently being held. However, not all trials are jury trials. For some low-level crimes, such as disorderly conduct, you have no right to a jury trial and instead will have a bench trial before a judge. The latest order from the Utah Supreme Court has given judges the authority to conduct bench trials remotely over videoconference in certain instances. Talk to your lawyer about if this is a possibility in your case.
There is also the possibility of working out a plea deal with the prosecutor remotely. Again, this varies greatly depending on the specific courtroom, judge, and prosecutor, so it is best to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC reach out to the appropriate parties on your behalf. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate a deal where you enter a plea by affidavit, which is sent through the mail rather than given in person in front of a judge.
A plea by affidavit can present a great chance to resolve your case from home for those who are not interested in taking the matter to trial. Usually, this is reserved for defendants who live outside of the state of Utah. However, during the pandemic the rules have been relaxed in certain cases. It is up to the discretion of the judge, in consultation with the prosecutor, about whether or not to accept a plea by affidavit. We can work to convince them that this unprecedented situation calls for unprecedented steps to keep the wheels of the system running.
What Happens if I Am Arrested on a New Crime in Salt Lake City During Coronavirus?
While the court system has curtailed its activities, the Salt Lake City police department has not. They are still conducting investigations and making arrests during this time. If you were under investigation before the pandemic began, the investigation will continue. If you commit a new crime during the pandemic, you will be sought out and arrested.
It is never a pleasant experience to be arrested. However, bring arrested during a pandemic means being exposed to police officers whose job does not allow them to social distance. It also means spending time in a jail awaiting a bail hearing, and jails have seen many cases for obvious reasons. Especially since not all court staff are working and because some bail hearings are being done over teleconferencing, you are likely to spend more time than ever waiting in the holding cell or the local detention center for your bail hearing after you have been arrested and booked.
An experienced bail hearing attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC can work to get your hearing held as quickly as possible so that you do not have to spend one more second that necessary in a dirty, overcrowded jail while this virus spreads. We will work to convince the judge that you deserve to be released with minimal to no bail. Once bail has been decided, we will reach out to the prosecutor as soon as possible to see what steps can be taken to move your case forward at this time.
If You Salt Lake City Criminal Case Has Been Delayed Due to Coronavirus, Call Our Experienced Lawyers Today
The coronavirus pandemic has upended our entire society and forced all of us to make sacrifices for the benefit of the common good. However, this does not mean that your legal rights are suspended during this time, including your right to a speedy trial if criminal charges have been brought against you. At Overson Law, PLLC, our experienced criminal defense attorneys will do everything in our power to keep your case moving and to ultimately bring it to a positive resolution. For a free, confidential consultation, call us today at (801) 758-2287.