If you are facing criminal charges, you have a right to a speedy trial. That said, some criminal cases are being not just postponed but actually suspended due to the pandemic. What could this mean for your case? The best way to find out for sure is to ask your criminal defense attorney how it will affect your particular case. In the meantime, you can keep reading for the basics.
Courts Are Suspending Various Parts of Criminal Cases
It is important to know that not only can one part of your case be suspended or postponed, many parts could, which could together leave you waiting quite a long time for your day in court. Some of the elements that courts across the country are suspending include jury selection, oral arguments, non-employees allowed in the building, jury trials, new criminal trials, court hearings, and in-person interviews.
What This Might Mean for Your Case
This can lead to a person being required to stay in prison or jail until their trial or appeal is able to be held. For persons on probation, you can likely stay on probation. If you are out on bail waiting for the trial to start, then you will likely need to continue to follow the requirements of bail and stay in the area.
In the event that you have not yet been taken into custody, the criminal matter might be adjourned, which means to stop it until a later time. In some cases, the courts are allowing video calls to keep the process going.
The Potential Long-Term Consequences of Court Delays
The bad news is that due to some court closings, certain criminal cases are going to be pushed back years. This can impede on a person’s rights given by the Sixth Amendment to a speedy trial. Federal law prevents an accused person from facing “unnecessary delay,” and many people argue that the delays today are necessary.
There Are Advantages to Awaiting a Trial for Longer
While it might be frustrating to feel that your life is in a place of flux, the truth is that there are advantages to the state taking longer to try you for a crime. First, it gives us more time to develop your case and for new evidence to be found. If you have already been found guilty, it gives us more time to prepare for your appeal.
It might also make prosecutors more willing to offer creative sentencing options that keep you out of prison. For this, you will need a criminal defense attorney who knows how to negotiate the best possible option. You can contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 now for a free legal consultation.