Will COVID-19 Impact My DUI Case?
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, businesses, schools and restaurants have closed down to slow the spread of the virus.
This also includes the judicial system.
While Georgia is beginning to reopen its economy, the backlog that the court system will experience as a result of the Coronavirus will likely lead to significant delays for existing and new DUI cases moving forward. Successfully defending a DUI charge will require multiple court appearances, all of which will impact the outcome of your case. Understanding how COVID-19 has, and will continue, to affect the DUI process will be critical to the success of your case.
We recognize that this is a confusing time filled with uncertainty, and adding a DUI charge on top of it all can be extremely stressful. Simply coping with the uncertainty of a DUI charge is one of the most challenging things to do. While we cannot tell you exactly what will happen with your DUI case, we can provide information about the law, what to expect from the prosecutor assigned to your case and how COVID-19 will impact the timing and strategy of your case.
Will my DUI court date be rescheduled because of COVID-19?
On May 15, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued a Judicial Emergency in response to COVID-19 which significantly limited court functions. The emergency order stated that courts could remain open to address “essential functions” in order to protect the safety and liberty of individuals. These essential functions include:
- Cases in which an immediate safety or liberty concern requires immediate attention
- Criminal court search warrants, arrest warrants, initial appearances and bond reviews
- Domestic abuse temporary protective orders and restraining orders
- Juvenile court delinquency detention hearings and emergency removal matters; and
- Mental health commitment hearings.
For many of our clients, their DUI cases have been postponed and rescheduled to later dates. We have been encouraged to use teleconferencing and videoconferencing to reduce backlogs when the judicial emergency ends. And while this order is set to expire on May 13, it is likely that the effects of COVID-19 will continue to impact the DUI process for years to come.
If you have questions about your DUI court date and how COVID-19 will impact your case, you can contact our office to schedule a consultation.
How can I prepare for my DUI court date during COVID-19?
Although the COVID-19 has caused significant delays for DUI hearings, it is never too early to begin preparing for your DUI court date.
It is impossible to predict what will happen in court without collecting evidence and reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of your case. In almost every DUI matter that we handle, it can take months before all of the evidence is collected and reviewed by our team. We will first need to make an open records request to the relevant arresting agency and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. Then, we can review any evidence that is provided, such as the incident report, blood alcohol tests, breathalyzer tests and video, if it is available.
During COVID-19, this process may take longer – especially if there is a backlog of requests. That does not mean, however, that there are not steps you can take right now to begin preparing for your court date. When you contact our office for a free consultation, we’ll talk about your case and determine the best path forward.
Should I wait to hire a DUI attorney until after COVID-19?
You do not need to wait until after COVID-19 has ended to hire a DUI attorney. In fact, the sooner a DUI attorney can get involved in your case, the better. A DUI attorney will look at the facts of your case and work with you to create a strategy to overcome your charges, giving you some peace of mind during these challenging times.
If you have questions about your DUI, I encourage you to call our office. We have worked remotely during COVID-19 continue to do everything possible to assist our DUI clients during this time.