Criminal Matters During COVID-19
While the courts in New York state have been temporarily suspended, criminal court matters are still taking place in adjusted ways. If an arrest takes place, the arraignment will take place over video conference between the arresting agency, the assigned judge and the attorneys. While each party will not be physically present with each other, normal arraignment proceedings will continue over the video conference. See our article on arraignments for a more in-depth explanation on how arraignments proceed.
Even though the arraignment will take place over video, the defendant still has the option to be represented by an attorney. We have been working diligently at Tilem & Associates to make sure that our attorneys have access to the technology necessary to be able to connect to the courts and be available for our clients, should the need for a video court conference arise. Because of the limited court functions allowed, an increase in the allowance of plea bargains. This is very positive for all our current clients as well as those who have been charged and are wondering what options they have.
Plea bargains are incredibly useful and helpful for those who have been charged criminally, as this type of deal is agreement between the defendant and the court to plea to a lower charge as well as lowered sentencing. During this time, attorneys for those who have been charged criminally have better leverage to negotiate the best possible deals for our clients in order to lower the strain on the courts when they are opened back up to normal proceedings. Agreeing to a plea bargain means that there will not be a trial or prolonged court proceedings.
Following the video arraignment, the second court appearance may not be scheduled for quite some time to alleviate the burden on the court. Ongoing criminal court proceedings have all been postponed until the courts open back up, and even then, there is a significant backlog, as the courts have now been closed since mid-March. Any cases that were scheduled in the court since mid-March have been rescheduled as the first to be heard once allowed. We have already had cases that were first scheduled to be heard in March get rescheduled for dates in June.
Regardless of when the second conference is scheduled for, our attorneys are available to discuss representing you at the virtual arraignment and make sure that you are represented fairly. We will advocate on your behalf with the judge and prosecutor and be able to then discuss possible plea bargains with the prosecutor assigned to the case. Even though the courts may be closed to conferences, we are still able to negotiate with the other attorney on the case and work on getting the best agreement possible for our client. Call our office now to discuss what options are available in handling your charges and make sure that you have representation that will work for you.