Our office remains open during the COVID-19 outbreak. Fortunately, we were already set up to accept new clients over the phone and on the internet via FaceTime, which is a service we have used for years in order to address the needs of people who can't enter the country without first hiring a lawyer.
While the police are not making as many arrests as they were before the outbreak, they are still pursuing cases—particularly the ones deemed more serious. Almost all of the civil courts in Los Angeles County are closed, but all 38 criminal courts are still open with some limitations on the scope of business.
What Can You Do If Someone Is Arrested And They Can't Bail Out?
Historically, a person would have to appear in court within 48 hours of an arrest, but in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the chief justice of the California Supreme Court has extended this period of time to seven days.
Since it wouldn't be right to just leave someone in custody who would otherwise have a right to argue their case in court and be released, these cases are going to court. Preliminary hearings on felony cases are also going to court.
The chief justice of the California Supreme Court has also issued a ruling that all jury trials will be continued 60 to 90 days, traffic cases will be continued rather than go to court, and all progress reports, sentencings, and other proceedings will be continued. Family members are barred from attending court hearings; only defendants facing serious charges can attend court.
Efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 in jails and courthouses are critical, especially since these are environments wherein the virus would be easily transmissible. With that said, we are here for you; if you need a criminal defense attorney, all you have to do is give us a call. We will do everything possible to help you and keep you safe during this time.
Should I Wait Until The Courts Reopen To Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you have a criminal case pending or you're being investigated, hire an attorney right away. There is a lot of work that can be accomplished during the COVID-19 crisis. Don't forget that prosecutors are still working on their cases, which means you need an attorney working on yours.
Appearances can be made via telephone, and a lot of progress in terms of the preparation of cases can be made. If you have a court date coming up and you're not sure whether you have to go, let that be your attorney's problem. If you have a pending matter with your driver's license or the DMV, let your attorney handle that too.
Additional Information On COVID-19 In California
If you do end up having to go to court during the COVID-19 outbreak, then your attorney will speak to the clerk of the court and obtain all of the necessary information regarding your appearance.
You will be allowed to wear a mask and gloves. Personally, I am taking all of the precautions—including leaving my cell phone out of court when possible, and not touching my face—especially since I know that the criminal courts have a lot of action going through them right now.
With that said, it is very important not to assume that just because there is a pandemic, your criminal issues are on hold. This type of thinking could lead you to think it is acceptable to miss a hearing, when in reality, doing so could lead to a warrant for your arrest.
The last thing you want is to find yourself in jail during the COVID-19 outbreak. Don't take any chances: hire an attorney today.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. We are also located at 633 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90071. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.