When people are quarantined due to coronavirus (COVID-19), there is a greater likelihood of criminal activity increasing, particularly domestic violence. At the same time, Connecticut courts have limited their availability in a way that will directly impact criminal defense in New Haven. The situation is developing incredibly quickly, and it is difficult to understand all of the ways in which the criminal defense process will be affected by COVID-19.
The Connecticut Judicial Branch recently created a website that provides updates regarding COVID-19. At the Red Law Firm, our criminal defense lawyers are here to help you. If you are facing criminal charges during the coronavirus pandemic, you need an experienced legal team on your side. Contact our law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation and discuss how we can fight for your rights.
Coronavirus is Negatively Impacting the Residents of Connecticut in a Big Way
The spread of coronavirus has impacted criminal defense in New Haven, Connecticut. Nearly 500 Americans have died as a result of coronavirus and 11,500 people in Connecticut have tested positive for the illness. Connecticut’s governor has extended the mandatory shutdown of Connecticut to May 20. All non-essential businesses must remain closed for another six weeks. Restaurants, bars, retail stores, gyms, and other establishments must remain closed through May 20.
Connecticut Court Closures Due to COVID
The Connecticut Judicial Branch has reduced its days of operation and closed some courthouses. The court is attempting to protect the public as well as their staff from the spread of coronavirus. The Office of the Appellate Clerk has gone to reduced hours. Additionally, all remaining courts will become closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays until further notice.
Additionally, all Ansonia-Milford and Middlesex Judicial District Courthouses have been temporarily closed as of April 1, 2020. Cases that these courts would normally hear have been transferred to the New Britain Judicial District courthouse. Cases from the Stamford Courthouse will become transferred to Fairfield Judicial District Courthouse.
Only Certain People can Enter Courthouses During the Coronavirus Pandemic
As of March 26, 2020, only the following people can enter Connecticut courthouses, including individuals who are:
- Filing or have a hearing for a Temporary Restraining Order
- Filing of having a hearing for a Civil Protection Order
- Filing or have a hearing on an Emergency Ex Parte Motion for child custody, or
- Are involved in a criminal arraignment or another criminal proceeding
This means that if you are involved in a criminal proceeding or your criminal arrangement has been scheduled, you will still be going through those processes. Nonetheless, you should expect delays because only 15 court locations remain open. These locations are now responsible for handling cases from all of the courts that have shut down. Many courthouse staff members are currently working from home, making communication more challenging.
Sentence Review and Criminal Trials Have Also Been Postponed
If you are undergoing a sentence review of your criminal conviction, the review will be postponed until either April, May, or June. Additionally, Connecticut courts have postponed jury trials. However, jury trials that are currently in progress will continue. Additionally, criminal jury trials that are necessitated by the filing and granting of speedy trial motions, and all other criminal trials have been suspended until further notice.
Not All Criminal Trials Have Been Postponed
Connecticut courts will only hear certain priority cases. Courts will continue to schedule and hear the following Priority 1 matters until further notice:
- Juvenile Detention hearings
- Criminal arraignments for defendants held in lieu of bond
- All arraignments involved in domestic violence cases
- Juvenile detention hearings
- Family orders of relief from abuse
- Civil orders of relief from abuse
- Civil protection orders
- Ex parte motions
- Orders of temporary custody in Juvenile Matters
- Orders to appear in Juvenile Matters
- Emergency ex parte orders of temporary custody
- Juvenile detention operations for detainees held for juvenile court
- Hearings for termination of parental rights
- Victim notification for domestic violence
If You are Serving a Criminal Sentence in Prison, We can Help
If you are currently serving time in jail after a criminal sentence, or you are awaiting trial, you still have constitutional rights. You are now exposed to coronavirus and may not be afforded necessary protection while in jail. One man has pleaded guilty to a crime and received a sentence of probation. However, he is still in prison until his hearing on April 14th due to a technicality. He has an underlying condition of asthma which makes it more dangerous for him should he contract coronavirus.
Inmates in Connecticut correctional facilities are like sitting ducks waiting to contract coronavirus. If you are concerned about your safety while in prison, you can benefit from speaking to an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact the Red Law Firm as soon as possible to learn how we can help you fight for your rights while in prison.
Contact Our Experienced New Haven Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
At the Red Law Firm, we understand how challenging and complicated it is to face criminal charges during coronavirus. We have decades of experience involving criminal defense, domestic matters, and motor vehicle accidents. If you are facing criminal charges during these uncertain times, you will benefit from a criminal defense lawyer who knows the legal process through and through.
After evaluating your situation, we can advise you about what will happen next in the criminal justice process. If your case is considered a Priority 1 matter, the court will schedule and hear your matter. However, if your matter is not a priority 1, your case will be rescheduled until further notice. Our legal team can help you determine whether or not your case will continue to go on as normal.
Additionally, we will fight hard to ensure that any delays due to the coronavirus pandemic will not infringe on your rights as a defendant. You deserve a fair trial and we are here to make sure that you experience a fair trial. Contact us as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation. We offer a 24/7 phone line for potential clients.