The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact many businesses and government agencies across the state—not the least of which is the Texas court system. The courts have endured repeated closures, and the Texas Supreme Court recently postponed all jury trials in the state until October 1.
For some people awaiting trials and court dates, the delay might have little impact—but for others, it can create huge difficulties and even danger. Consider, for example, the Texas defendant who was in jail pending his day in court who wound up stuck there because his court date was postponed when the courts closed. A 61-year-old with pre-existing conditions, he was left in a high-risk situation for contracting COVID, essentially a victim of system bureaucracy.
Possible Complications from Court Delays
The example above underscores just one of the possible issues that can arise if you happen to be in the wrong situation when the courts are shuttered. Specifically, if you get arrested for DWI, prolonging your court date could cause any or all of the following complications:
- If your charges land you in jail (for example, if you're unable to make bail), your time in jail could be extended, perhaps indefinitely.
- If your license was suspended temporarily as a result of your DWI arrest, you may be stuck without a license for a longer period of time, possibly impacting your ability to work.
- The uncertainty of an unresolved charge hanging over you could have an impact on your stress levels and your mental health.
How an Experienced DWI Attorney Can Help
Not all the news here is bad. There are workarounds and solutions to the situations we just described—but you may need the help of a specialist DWI defense attorney to avail yourself of them. Even with the courts closed, a good attorney can work with local criminal justice officials to help you navigate difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic court delays. For example:
- If you're stuck in jail, a DWI attorney can negotiate to have your bail reduced or dropped so you can be released, especially if you are at-risk for COVID or if there is a spike in COVID cases where you're being held.
- Your attorney can arrange to confer with prosecutors and the judge by teleconference, and depending on the circumstances of your case, negotiate to have your charges dropped or reduced.
- If your situation would benefit from waiving a jury trial, your attorney may also be able to arrange for a bench trial or plea deal via teleconference.
If you've been arrested on DWI charges and the pandemic is throwing a wrench into having your case processed, you don't need to become a victim of the system. Doug Murphy is Board Certified in DWI Defense and in Criminal Law, and he can work to protect your rights and come up with creative solutions. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.