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How COVID-19 Could Impact Your Defense: 5 Things to Know

How COVID-19 Could Impact Your Defense: 5 Things To Know

Whether you are facing a traffic ticket or a much more serious criminal trial, it is important to work closely with a Fairfax criminal defense attorney during the coronavirus pandemic. Many court cases have been postponed through May 17, and there is a possibility that cases could be further postponed. For people who are facing hearings or trials for minor offenses, a postponement can be stressful, and your traffic defense lawyer can discuss options that may be available to you. When it comes to people who are facing more serious criminal charges that could result in terms of imprisonment, and for people who are currently awaiting a bail hearing, the court postponements and closures are even more devastating.

If you have a pending hearing or trial, one of our Virginia criminal defense lawyers can speak with you today about your case. In the meantime, the following are five things to know about how the COVID-19 emergency could impact your case.

  1. Nearly All Criminal and Traffic Cases Have Been Postponed

The Supreme Court of Virginia has issued an emergency order directing that most traffic and criminal cases are to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, emergency matters, including but not limited to . . . arraignments, bail reviews, and protective order cases are still going forward.

  1. Filing Deadlines Have Been Tolled and Extended

Depending upon the type of case, you may have upcoming deadlines that must be met. The emergency order makes clear that most deadlines have been tolled (paused, essentially) and extended due to the coronavirus crisis.

  1. Jury Trials have been canceled.

The latest Supreme Court Order has directed that no civil or criminal jury trials are to proceed until further order of the Court.

  1. Traffic Cases in Fairfax County Have Been Continued Until July 2020 At the Earliest

While all non-essential and non-emergency cases have been postponed according to the emergency order through mid May at the earliest, the Fairfax County Court has been continuing traffic cases until much later. Indeed, traffic hearings that were scheduled between March 17, 2020 and April 30, 2020 will not be heard until July 2020 at the earliest.

  1. Defendants Right to a Speedy Trial May be Altered.

Ordinarily, under federal and Virginia law, defendants who are in custody have a right to a speedy trial. The idea of a “speedy trial,” and what that means, can be confusing at a moment in which so many different court hearings and trials have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Virginia law, a person who is held in custody on felony charges has a right to have a trial commenced within five months from the date that the court initially found probable cause to charge the defendant. If a defendant is not held in custody, then the defendant is owed a trial within nine months from the date that probable cause was found, according to the statute. In some cases, this “clock” begins ticking on the date of an indictment.

If you have questions about your right to a speedy trial during the pandemic, you should get in touch with a Virginia criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Fairfax, VA

Do you have questions or concerns about how the COVID-19 emergency is affecting traffic and criminal cases? Do you have a pending case that you are concerned about? One of the experienced Fairfax criminal defense attorneys at our firm can discuss your situation with you today. Contact Whitestone Young, PC to learn more about our services.

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