The coronavirus outbreak has brought much of the country to an unprecedented screeching halt. Many students will not return to the classroom this semester, businesses are operating with a skeleton crew or not at all, some people have lost their jobs, and others are now working from home indefinitely.
The courts have also changed the ways in which they operate in light of protecting the health and safety of all of those who need their services. If you currently have pending court business, it is best to seek the advice and expertise of an experienced Austin criminal defense lawyer to determine your next steps.
Understanding Criminal Court Schedules
Texas law lays out guidelines to provide alleged criminals with a speedy trial. Under the law, whenever practical trials involving criminal action should be prioritized over trials for civil cases. Furthermore, trials of defendants who are in jail pending a trial are to be prioritized over other criminal hearings.
Whether the court action is criminal or civil, if a defendant has been restored to competency, their case should be given priority above other matters. The one exception is that trials involving victims who are under the age of 14 years should be given priority over all other civil or criminal matters in the court.
Emergency verses Non-Emergency Hearings
With courts all over the nation, including Texas, operating at a significantly reduced capacity, many are wondering what constitutes an emergency hearing and what is a non-emergency hearing. While all legal proceedings may feel urgent to some, the courts outline what an emergency hearing is and what is not.
The courts are charged with balancing the rights of criminal defendants and public health. Emergency court plans generally direct courts to first hear critical cases. Hearings for other cases, such as civil actions or contesting speeding tickets will either be delayed or suspended as these would be non-emergency court actions.
In general, examples of critical or emergency hearings might include:
- In-custody criminal and juvenile cases (the defendant is being held in jail)
- Emergency protective orders (domestic violence and child abuse cases)
- Bail hearings
- Contested quarantine and isolation orders
Non-emergency court hearings are generally those not involving a defendant in jail, a constitutional right to a speedy trial, or bond hearings. If you believe that you are entitled to an emergency hearing, your Austin criminal defense lawyer can discuss this with you and take any necessary actions to request one.
Reach Out to a Skilled Austin Criminal Defense Attorney for Help
At Granger and Mueller PC, we know that many of our clients do not understand how the legal system works or what happens after they are charged with a crime. When you hire us, we will explain any applicable information in ways that you can understand. Communication is paramount to us. If you contact us with a question, one of our attorneys, a paralegal, or our office manager will get back to you as soon as possible. If your circumstances warrant an emergency court hearing, we can work to get you one.
If you are facing criminal charges, you do not have time to waste. Schedule your free case consultation with an Austin criminal defense lawyer today by calling 512-474-9999 or completing our online contact form.