These are unprecedented times for us all.
As COVID-19 impacts every aspect of our daily lives, there are some things you should know with respect to criminal law.
1) Domestic violence is up. With people stuck inside their homes, dealing with the stress of this pandemic, while at the same time enduring economic stress as many are out of work or are suffering the slowing of their businesses, tensions can lead to unfortunate incidents in the home. Police WILL respond to domestic violence calls and since Florida is a "no drop" state, police WILL arrest if they respond to a call of domestic violence and they conclude that an act of violence has occurred, even if the alleged victim is not cooperative.
2) Courts are closed for non-critical matters but remain open for critical matters. First appearances (initial bond hearings after arrest), in-custody arraignments, and hearings on motions to set bond are considered critical and will continue. Also, if you are seeking a restraining order (injunction), you may apply for one at any of the applicable South Florida court locations, however the final hearing on the injunction will be reset for a date when the courts reopen.
3) Courts WILL reopen and your pending criminal case will be heard. If you have a pending criminal charge, now is not the time to sit back and do nothing. This period is a perfect time to take advantage of the stagnation. Your attorney will have ample time to prepare and investigate your case. Don't wait until you have an actual court date to retain an attorney.
4) The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is continuing to process sealing and expungement applications. Don't wait. You can begin this process right now.
5) Courts may implement teleconferencing technology to being to move proceedings along. Stay in touch with your criminal attorney to find out if your matter may be addressed remotely, via platforms like Skype or Zoom.
6) Attorneys are still working and are available to consult. The Law Offices of Eric M. Matheny, P.A. is open for business and available to consult by phone or video conference.
Take care, stay safe, and reach out if you need assistance.
Contact me if you need to discuss your matter.