When the COVID-19 pandemic began, San Diego courts momentarily shut down before slowly rolling out remote services to keep the criminal justice system moving. During that time judges, court staff, attorneys, and even clients appeared for hearings virtually on Microsoft Teams instead of the old school way: in person, in the courthouse.
But now we are back. When the state lifted many of its COVID-19 restrictions and precautions in mid-June, the San Diego courts followed suit. As such, the courthouses are now officially open for business.
Members of the public are permitted to come and observe most hearings, and no one is required to wear a mask if they are vaccinated. In-custody clients are being transported from the local jails to court for their hearings, and their attorneys are expected to be physically present, as well. If someone wants to plead guilty to a felony offense—whether they are in or out of custody—they will likely be required to do it in person, too. However, many judges are continuing the option for remote services under certain circumstances, like for clients that are out of custody pending trial.
What has resulted is an interesting mixture of in-person and virtual court appearances. A courtroom may have an in-person arraignment one minute, followed by a hearing the next minute where the attorneys are beaming in by videoconference on a TV mounted to the courtroom wall.
As the policies and procedures implemented by each judge and courthouse change with each passing day, it is more important than ever to have a qualified, experienced criminal defense firm in your corner to help guide you through the process. If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in San Diego and want to learn more about what to expect during the criminal process, give us a call at (619) 295-3555 to schedule a case evaluation today.
The contents of this article and blog are for meant for informational and marketing purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Viewing and/or use of the blog does not form an attorney-client relationship. No statements in this post are a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of a particular result in your case.