Given the concern regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, courts around Arizona have largely avoided all in-person hearings. Many matters previously set for April and May have been converted to telephonic, video, or continued. On Friday May 8, the Arizona Supreme Court issued Administrative Order No. 2020-75 providing very important rules and guidelines for Arizona courts. Starting in June many courts will be resume in-person hearings subject to several measures limiting measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
If you have a pending criminal case in court to attend to, there are a few very important things to keep in mind for the next several months:
- If you were scheduled to appear in court this month (May 2020), there is a good chance your hearing was converted to telephonic or continued to another day. Call your attorney to see if you still need to appear. If you do not have an attorney, call the court. It is also probably not too late to hire an attorney as the Supreme Court’s administrative order advises that continuances are to be liberally granted during this time.
- If you are at high risk of illness from COVID-19 or have any symptoms, diagnosis, or exposure to COVID-19, immediately notify the court prior to appearing. The Supreme Court has advised lower courts to accommodate an alternative means of appearing or continue your court date in order to protect you and the public during this time.
- If you are going to court, wear a mask prior to entering the building. A mask or other face-covering is required by order of the Supreme Court.
- If you have an attorney, your attorney may be able to waive your presence so you do not need to appear. During this time, courts are much more likely to allow an attorney to waive a client’s presence as courts are limiting the number of people entering. However, it is very important you discuss this with your attorney in advance. Do not assume your attorney is waiving your presence without speaking to him or her.
While the above may provide helpful guidance to members of the public, there are numerous rules and regulations outlined in the Arizona Supreme Court Order that may affect your rights and responsibilities. You can view the full Arizona Supreme Court Order here: Arizona Supreme Court Admin Order No. 2020 – 75.
If you are facing criminal charges, it is highly recommended you consult an attorney immediately. Call criminal defense attorney Matt Maerowitz for a free consultation at 480-465-4032.