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COVID-19 and the courts

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our state and federal courts have switched to virtual court by video link or resolving cases by written agreements, to minimize exposure to the novel corona virus. Some cases still require an in-person hearing before a judge, like domestic violence charges. 

Hearings, including felony preliminary hearings, changes of plea, sentencings and even bench trials are now being done by video link from your smart phone, while many out of custody defendants are having their cases bumped into the Fall and next year. Jury trials are delayed, and when they resume, the people in jail will go first, and everyone else will see huge delays.

This is not necessarily a bad thing for you if you have been charged with a crime in Utah. I can do everything to assist you that I've always done, like file my paperwork with the court, communicate with the prosecutor, obtain all the police reports, body camera video, file for any driver license hearings, and share this information with my client, counsel them and answer questions. The big difference is literally the video court appearances, which I have done from my office, at my home office, even by the swimming pool (and almost always wearing the suit and tie on top, and shorts and slippers where the camera doesn't see).  But the important thing is that the work gets done, and my clients are always fully in the loop.

Why is this important? Most of my clients are first time offenders who are eligible for a plea in abeyance, where they accept responsibility for their violation of the law, like possessing marijuana in Utah, and after 12 months of clean living and small fee payment to the court, the charges get dismissed, and you never have a criminal conviction. But that 12 months doesn't start until the paperwork is filed with the court and signed by the judge. I just see no reason to stall and delay, when you want to get that 12 months started now, so it will be over sooner, and the case dismissed. I have even drafted the plea agreements so the prosecutors didn't have to, just to get the case done quickly.

And those clients who are fighting their charges every step of the way have an advantage right now working with my all-star investigators and expert consultants on major felony charges. We are not being rushed to trial, so we have more time to dig deeper into witness statements, vital documents and records, and to analyze our need for experts, like psychologists, chemists or even medical examiners. 

If you are charged with a crime in Southern Utah, in the St. George area, Washington, Hurricane, Cedar City, Kanab, Beaver, or with a federal offense at Lake Powell, Zion National Park or one of our spectacular vacation areas, don't wait to contact me. Your court case is delayed for a month or two, but the sooner you have an experienced, qualified attorney working on your case, the better your result, and peace of mind.

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