The COVID-19 pandemic has, to varying degrees, affected the entire world. All but the most essential businesses and government services were ordered to shut down. And while things started to re-open a few months ago, the recent surge in cases in California and across the country has resulted in many businesses and government organizations shutting back down.
Of course, while these closures impact everyone, few people are more unfairly affected by these closures than those facing criminal charges. People, who remain innocent until proven guilty, have cases hanging over their heads or, worse yet, remain incarcerated as they wait for their cases to be heard.
In terms of the San Diego Superior Court, the court was closed on March 17, 2020, and remained closed for all but a very select few matters until May 26, 2020, when the court began its reopening process. The court then heard a few trials; however, the court shut back down in the fall due to a surge in cases. Currently, the San Diego Superior Court is conducting most types of hearings, especially for those facing serious criminal charges. However, most business is being conducted remotely, and the court will continue to rely on virtual hearings for the foreseeable future.
That said, according to the court’s website, jury trials are scheduled to resume in February of this year. However, this is not the first time we’ve heard trials will resume. In any case, to facilitate a safe process for everyone, the court has implemented the following safety protocols:
- Everyone entering the courthouse will have their temperature taken;
- Court employees will enforce social distancing measures;
- Employees and visitors are required to wear face-coverings;
- Plexiglass screens have been installed throughout the building;
- The court is only allowing a certain number of people in the building at a time, depending on when their case is being called;
- As many processes as possible are being conducted through video hearings; and
- Hand sanitizer is being made available throughout the building.
Currently, the court’s hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Those who are not in custody have several options to attend any hearing, including:
- Attend virtually, or over the phone;
- Waive their presence, allowing the hearing to go on without them being there;
- Use technology made available at the courthouse to attend the hearing virtually; or
- Attend the hearing in person, with an attorney.
Of course, individual judges retain discretion over the cases on their docket. And while some judges are eager to resume business as usual, that may not be the case for them all. Anyone with additional questions about the status of their case or when their case may end up going to trial should reach out to their criminal defense attorney.
Contact a San Diego DUI Defense Lawyer Today
If you are currently awaiting trial in San Diego, and have questions about your case, the Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman can help. For more than a decade, Attorney Hartman has dedicated her practice solely to those facing serious California DUI charges. She has extensive experience handling all types of drunk driving offenses, and puts this knowledge into each of her clients’ cases. She is also available for consultations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 619-260-1122.