UPDATE 3/26: All non-mission critical court hearings are continued through April 17, 2020.
UPDATE: On March 17, 2020, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit made the decision to cancel all criminal court matters until March 27, 2020 with the exception of “Mission-Critical Court Matters”. These matters include first appearance bond hearings, arraignments for in-custody defendants, Baker Act and Marchman Act hearings, juvenile detention hearings, and emergency petitions for domestic violence injunctions.
The Coronavirus is rapidly spreading in the United States and other countries. The virus is extremely contagious and can easily spread from person to person contact through small droplets from the nose or mouth if a person coughs or exhales according to the World Health Organization.
Almost all courts in Florida are taking precautions to try to limit residents to exposure from Coronavirus. The most recent update from the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida provides the most accurate information on whether a defendant’s appearance is required for court hearings.
Miami-Dade County’s Policy Changes on Court Attendance due to the Coronavirus
According to the most recent update on March 15, 2020, bond hearings, arraignment hearings, soundings, and other special set hearings will continue as usual. Trials, however, will continue as usual for felony cases but will be suspended for misdemeanor cases for the next two weeks.
The new policy changes clearly state that the Defendant’s presence will be waived for all felony and misdemeanor arraignment hearings. In addition, a bench warrant will not be issued if the Defendant does not appear for the arraignment. Instead, the arraignment will be reset for a future court date.
The update did not provide guidance on how judges will address a defendant who fails to appear to other court hearings, such as sounding and jury trials, and does not have a signed waiver of appearance filed with the clerk. These defendants could be issued bench warrants if they fail to appear to court and will likely be decided on a case by case basis.
What can I do to make sure I don’t get a Bench Warrant for Failing to Appear to Court?
Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney increases the chances that your case will be properly handled and the necessary paperwork will be filed so that the judge will not issue a bench warrant in your case.
Hubbs Law represents defendants charged with all types of crimes in Miami, FL including felonies, misdemeanors, and defendants who have active warrants.
Hubbs Law attorneys will ensure that your attendance is waived for court when permissible under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.180 regardless of whether you are sick or can’t attend court for other reasons.
If you or anyone you know is concerned about a future court date for a criminal case, call Hubbs Law now to schedule a consultation at our office immediately at (305) 570-4802.