COVID-19 Procedures have affected almost every aspect of our daily lives. Our criminal court system certainly has changed. The courts in Dallas, Fort-Worth, Collin, and Denton County are no exception.
Before COVID-19 procedures changes how we interacted, the hallways in all the courts were full of people trying to navigate a busy court system. Your criminal defense attorney was your only guide and friend in the maze of corridors and court rooms.
The world has changed. COVID-19 procedures have changed even how our courts operate. Many hearings are done through video conferencing. Defense attorneys and prosecutors communicate through emails and phone calls. There have been a few attempts, but we have not figured out how to properly do jury trials.
On January 21, 2021, the Tarrant County Courts have determined that Local pandemic conditions are not currently conducive to in-person proceedings under the precautions and protocols contained in the previously-submitted in-person operating plan. Dallas County Courts are allowing pass slips to be done remotely. Similar procedures are being done in most counties.
Problems With COVID-19 Procedures
Cases are still moving forward. The backlog is growing. This puts a greater burden on the court staff. It will likely take years to get the courts current. This is good and bad for people going through the criminal court system.
First, let’s look at cases were the evidence against you is weak. If you actively gather evidence supporting your defense, you have a greater chance of getting your case dismissed.
Next, are cases where the evidence is pretty clear that your guilty of the charge. The courts want to close as many files as they can. Your criminal defense attorney has greater leverage to work a deal that favors you.
Finally, the bad news. It is harder to stay on top of your case. It is now more likely that you will miss a hearing or deadline. When this happens, a warrant will be issued against you. This complicates your case, and your freedom.
Now more than ever it is important to hire an attorney who is concerned about your interest. There are free options available to some people. But the free options have very little interest in you as a person. Do not risk your freedom.