Florida Court Rule Changes in Response to COVID-19 Means Your Traffic Ticket and Other Criminal Offenses Will Not Be Automatically Dismissed in Miami or Fort Lauderdale
While bench and jury trials in the State of Florida have been cancelled for the near term, the Florida Supreme Court is easing justice system regulations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Judges, clerks and interpreters are now being trained on how to use remote, video and voice technology to get the justice system up and running again.
In Miami Dade and Broward counties, misdemeanor and traffic dockets are already taking place. The Florida Supreme Court has also issued a stay of the speedy trial rule from March 13 to at least April the 20th. That rule requires defendants to be brought to trial in a specific time period. Criminal litigation is transforming to remote operations using apps such as Zoom, and WebEx to attempt to move cases along. As most courts are restricting in-person appearances, they are attempting to use video or phone appearances as an option. Because of technology constraints sometimes it works and at other times it doesn’t. Because of the pandemic, constitutional requirements that would normally require a defendant to be present are all proceedings, are being relaxed. Courts are trying to be embracing technology to prevent the justice system from coming to a complete standstill.
During this pandemic, defendants are more likely to be released from jails or prisons with little or no bond, because the coronavirus is more pronounced in close quarters that were designed to detain people and not for human comforts. Jails have been releasing non- violent offenders that otherwise couldn’t post bond.
There already have been a number of individuals who have been infected with the virus at the Miami Dade Courthouse, the Hialeah Courthouse, the North Dade Justice Center and the Coral Gables Courthouse. Clearly switching to audio and video hearings is not only smart but necessary to protect the public and the people that work in our justice system.
If you have been charged with a crime or given a traffic citation and are unsure about what your responsibilities are in terms of attending previous noticed hearings contact your lawyers, the clerk’s office or you can call our office at 305-576-0244.even if you are not a client of our firm we will be happy to help you to ensure that you meet all of your legal obligations. Don’t assume that your legal obligations will disappear because of the pandemic.
If you do get a traffic ticket or are arrested for a crime during this pandemic, contact our Miami Criminal Defense Lawyers and we will do everything in our power to help you and your family get through these very trying times.