COVID-19 has impacted the way we live and work in San Diego, California and throughout the rest of the country. It has even impacted how we conduct criminal cases in the San Diego court system. If you were arrested for a criminal offense prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, you likely had your court dates postponed. Do you know when you are supposed to appear in court? Do you understand the ramifications of missing your scheduled court date? Are you aware of the health and safety protocols in place in the San Diego courts?
While it is true that we are living in unprecedented times, it is unlikely that you will be let off the hook for the misdemeanor or felony criminal charges against you. In most cases, court dates were postponed and scheduled to resume beginning in September and October of 2020. If you were arrested at the beginning of the pandemic, it is critical that you find out when you are due to appear in court. Missing a court date can have serious implications.
Why has the San Diego Superior Court rescheduled court dates?
The San Diego Courts have released a number of orders explaining their new procedures and protocols for safely conducting business during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a news release dated May 14, 2020, in-custody criminal cases were being tried over video and phone; out-of-custody cases were rescheduled for a later date.
Citing the declarations of the California Governor and the President of the United States of a state and national emergency, there have also been extensions to the amount of time in which a criminal case must be brought to trial. These extensions are due to concerns over the ability to conduct jury trials safely for all of those involved.
Schedule your free consultation today. Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Joni Eisenstein.
What happens if you miss a court date?
If you are scheduled to appear in court for a criminal charge, you should make every effort to be there. However, it is not uncommon for people to forget their court date, especially now when dates have been scheduled or rescheduled for so far into the future. It is critical that you attend your court date so you can avoid a bench warrant or other fines and consequences.
When you fail to appear in court, a bench warrant is issued for defendants who have missed their court dates. It gives the police the ability to take you into custody until you resolve your missed court appearance. In addition to a bench warrant, you could also face additional fines and even jail time depending on the nature of the charges you are facing.
Hiring an experienced defense attorney can help you avoid a “failure to appear.” In some cases, your attorney can work to get your bench warrant dismissed.
What are the latest health and safety protocols for the San Diego courts?
If you are scheduled for a court date, it is likely that you will have to abide by certain health and safety protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This may include measures such as:
- Wearing face coverings at all times inside the courthouse, unless exempt for a health condition
- Submitting to a temperature screening upon entering the courthouse
- Screening for COVID-19 symptoms
- Screening for international travel within 14 days of entering the courthouse
- Maintaining social distancing as possible
In order to ensure that you get your scheduled day in court and limit your risk of being unable to attend your court date, it is recommended that you consult with your attorney to understand the latest health and safety protocols for court.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Joni Eisenstein
If you have been charged with a criminal offense and have an upcoming court date, do not risk the consequences of missing your day in court. By securing a skilled and experienced defense attorney, you will give yourself the best shot at beating your charges and avoiding jail time.
When you need a strong criminal defense in San Diego County, contact the Law Office of Joni Eisenstein today for your free consultation.
If you are on the fence about hiring a defense attorney, stop thinking about it, and do it now
Hiring a criminal defense attorney like Joni Eisenstein can help you go from a place of uncertainty to freedom.