While we are all told to stay-at-home and exercise Social Distancing, many people who are in the middle of a criminal case in St. Louis County, Missouri, are wondering what COVID-19 means for their case. If this describes you, please read on for answers.
On March 13, 2020, both the National and State governments declared a State of Emergency in response to the World Health Organization's declaring COVID-19 a pandemic. In response to these developments, the Missouri Supreme Court issued its March 16, 2020 Order in Response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic. The Missouri Supreme Court has issued updated orders every week or so as the situation has progressed. The most recent update was issued on April 17, 2020, which you can find here.
Most of the local circuits, including St. Louis County, have issued their own orders in line with the Missouri Supreme Court's. For a complete description of the orders' impacts please see the original orders. The following is merely a summary as it pertains to St. Louis County Circuit, Associate and Municipal criminal and traffic cases.
Missouri Courts and COVID-19
Though the Courts shall remain open, and in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus and to ensure the safety and well-being of the public and court personnel, the Missouri Supreme Court has suspended all in-person hearings in all appellate and circuit courts, including associate courts and municipal courts, as well as all grand jury proceedings. The Missouri Supreme Court's ”Order shall remain in effect until May 15, 2020, and may be extended by [the] Court as circumstances warrant.”
The April 17th Order lists a number of broad exemptions to the general ban on in-person hearings, including:
Proceedings necessary to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants, including the right to a speedy trial, and the rights afforded under section 544.676.3.
What Does This Mean For You in St. Louis County?
If you are in the middle of a criminal case in either the Circuit or Associate Circuit courts, then following may apply to you. If you are unsure, call and speak about your case with an attorney in our office today:
- All in-person appearances are continued until further notice, including Arraignments, Pre-Trial Conferences, Settlement Conferences and Motions.
- Bond hearings will still be conducted through video conferencing.
- Evidentiary and Suppression hearings may still be held but will likely be continued.
- All Municipal Court proceedings are cancelled and continued until further notice.
- Filing Deadlines are still in effect but may be continued by the Judge overseeing your case.
- Pay-by-Dates for Fines and Court Costs have not been continued, this applies to your Municipal cases too.
- Your probation requirements, such as Community Service, SATOP, VIP, etc., though not continued may be extended by filing a motion with the Court.
- All Trials have been cancelled and continued until further notice.
ANTHONY S. BRETZ, ESQ. IS STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Even though the courts have temporarily suspended all in-person hearings, our firm is still open for business and here to help you.
We are fully operational and available to discuss your legal needs. The police have not stopped working and are still making arrests, so if you have been arrested recently please do not hesitate to call for a free consultation. We are here to help you.
To our Current Clients, please know that we are continuing to work actively for you and to address your legal needs. We are here to answer any questions you may have and to assist you. Do not hesitate to contact us.
We are accepting New Clients. Contact us now and see if we are the right fit for your needs. Now is not the time to delay taking action on your case, hire us and we will get started on your case immediately.
Our firm is happy to discuss your case through Zoom or by phone call. We are temporarily working remotely but we are fully operational and able to address your needs without delay.
Contact our firm now to discuss your criminal defense needs.
*The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.