The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted just about every aspect of society, and the court system is no exception. In New Jersey, the state courts closed to the public on March 18, 2020, and they remain closed until further notice. The only exceptions are for, “extremely limited emergent matters and certain ongoing trials.”
So, if you are awaiting trial in New Jersey, what does this mean for your criminal case? The answer depends on the current status of your case as well as the charge(s) that you are facing. However, generally speaking, all criminal trials are being postponed.
4 Key Facts about Facing Criminal Charges in New Jersey During the COVID-19 Crisis
1. You Should Contact the Court if You Have Questions about the Status of Your Case
If you were arrested before New Jersey’s courts closed and you had a court date pending after March 18, you should contact the court to confirm whether your court date has been postponed. While no new trials are taking place, “[a]s many matters as possible (including case management conferences, motions, and hearings) will be handled by telephone or video conference.” If you are not sure how to contact the court, one of our defense attorneys will be happy to assist you.
2. Your Case Will Not Be Dismissed Due to the COVID-19 Crisis
Despite the backlog that the New Jersey Courts’ closure is going to create, this is not going to result in criminal charges simply being dropped. Your case will go to court eventually. With this in mind, you need to continue to work on your defense strategy with your attorney, and you must be extremely careful to avoid getting arrested again during the pandemic.
3. Domestic Violence Cases Will Receive Special Attention
Due to the unique aspects of domestic violence cases, these cases are receiving special attention during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Temporary restraining order (TRO) hearings qualify as “emergent matters” that are still eligible to be handled in person. However, follow-up proceedings in which individuals accused of domestic violence have the opportunity to dispute their accusers’ allegations are not, and this means that TROs are staying in place longer than usual. If you are awaiting trial on a domestic violence charge, we strongly recommend that you seek advice from an attorney as soon as possible.
4. If You Get Arrested During the COVID-19 Crisis, You Will Be Prosecuted
Finally, if you get arrested during the COVID-19 crisis, your criminal case may be delayed, but you will still be prosecuted. You should contact a local defense attorney to make sure you know how your case will be handled. You will want to begin working on your defense strategy with your attorney as well, and you will need to be fully prepared when your case eventually moves forward.
Speak with a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer in Confidence
If you have a criminal case pending in New Jersey, we encourage you to contact us to speak with one of our defense attorneys. To schedule a confidential initial consultation at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., call 877-435-6371 or inquire online now.
Over 20 attorneys at HCK have extensive criminal defense experience as they were former assistant prosecutors and/or police officers for a combined total of over 600 years of law enforcement experience. You can find out more about them on our website, and you can call Managing Partner Ron Helmer on his cell phone at 609 685-0665.