Across Michigan, court cases have been adjourned (or postponed) due to Covid-19. The Royal Oak District Court is no exception. As of now, their website says they will remain closed until April 14, 2020. This is, of course, subject to change.
What does an adjournment mean for defendants facing criminal charges? This depends where the case is at procedurally.
For those who have yet to be arraigned – i.e. formally charged – these cases are given hearing dates far into the future. Some courts have simply told defendants they will receive a letter in the mail indicating their first court appearance. As there is no constitutional right to be charged with a crime, this does not mean that cases will be ‘thrown out’ as a result of delays.
Take note: Michigan courts list their cases online. This is most efficient way to answer your specific case questions. If the case does not appear online, try contacting the applicable court’s criminal division. Remember, many of the courts are under-staffed and/or closed.
For those cases that are currently pending, most are also experiencing adjournments to dates uncertain. Clients with pre-trial conditions (drug testing, mandatory Alcoholic’s Anonymous meetings, etc.) are being forced to navigate the Covid-19 Pandemic with uncertainty. It is best to document all attempts to comply when unable to do so. For example, if the testing facility is closed, make a note of the date that you were directed to test and couldn’t. Contact probation or pretrial services and advise them as soon as possible.
Courts have made accommodations for those defendants who are in custody. For some, their bonds were lowered. Others have been outright released as they’re deemed non-violent offenders. Given that there are strict timeframes courts must comply with when someone is incarcerated, the pandemic has made compliance extremely difficult.
If you have questions regarding your case or are seeking representation, contact Zupac Law. We are a criminal defense firm located located at 12 Mile and Crooks in Royal Oak. We are your best defense.