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COVID-19 and the Courts: What You Need to Know About Warrants, Court Closures and Court Dates

Posted on Apr 8, 2020 in Courts, Criminal Defense, Local Issues

Courts throughout Louisiana remain closed, except for conducting bond settings and other limited hearings for incarcerated defendants. What does this mean for you if you have a court appearance set during the closure? What if a warrant has been issued for your arrest? Here’s the short answer: if you had court scheduled between March 16, 2020 and May 1, 2020, your date will be reset. A subpoena will be sent to you with the new court date. If you are being represented by a lawyer already, the subpoena will likely go to them. Due to the high volume of cases that require reset, it could be weeks after the courts reopen before the clerk gets to resetting your matter.

Will a Warrant Be Issued If You Miss a Court Date?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eMjyDwQMmg You will not receive a warrant for failure to appear if your matter is set during the closure. Attachments for missed court dates are not being issued at this time. When the court reopens, keep an eye out for documentation regarding a reset of your court date. If you do not hear from the court, you should try to contact them and get info on your date. We anticipate this task will be easier to accomplish in some courts than others. All the courts are moving at their own speed, and there is really no precedent for process here. We think in many cases, one will need to be proactive in getting info on their new dates. Bloom Legal can help you navigate what will undoubtedly be a chaotic system once the courts reopen. Give us a call today for a free consultation.

Warrants Are Still Being Issued for Criminal Matters

Police can still apply for an arrest warrant for individuals that commit crimes during the court closure. Likewise, existing warrants prior to the closures have not been cleared. We are getting a lot of calls from folks saying they have a warrant, or fear one may have been issued, but they can’t get a hold of the court to do anything about it or find out any info. As mentioned, each court is unique. In First and Second Parish of Jefferson, you can contact the courts directly and tell the clerk that you have a warrant and need it recalled and a new date set. This service was available and should still be available. If not, or if your warrant was issued in Orleans Parish Municipal/Traffic Court, unfortunately, you will need to wait until the court reopens on May 4, 2020, to have the warrant recalled. Bloom Legal can help with getting warrants lifted during the court closure; however, it will depend on the charge and the reason for the issuances of the warrant. Therefore, if you find yourself with a warrant and you are unable to reach the court, contact Bloom Legal and we can work for you. If you or someone you know has already been arrested, call Bloom Legal and we will work to get them out of jail ASAP.

What If You Have a Fine/Fee or Traffic Ticket Due During the Closure?

If you cannot pay due to loss of work or another reason due to the COVID-19, don’t panic. The courts will not penalize anyone for not paying during the closure. If you can pay, you are able to pay for Traffic/Municipal Fines and Fees owed in Orleans Parish online. Jefferson Parish 1st or 2nd Parish Traffic offenses can be paid online. However, it should be noted that paying a traffic ticket in Louisiana is equivalent to pleading guilty to the charge. This means if it is a moving violation it will go on your driving record and affect your insurance. Before paying your ticket, speak with a traffic ticket attorney. When the courts reopen, a New Orleans traffic ticket lawyer can help get your ticket dismissed or reduced to keep it off your record.

Bloom Legal Remains Open to Serve New Orleans Through the COVID-19 Crisis

If you have questions about court closures or need legal representation, Bloom Legal is here to help. We are still working remotely fulltime. We are helping clients deal with warrants, getting folks out of jail, and dealing with injuries and traffic tickets. If you or someone you know has been arrested or issued a warrant or other legal issue, contact Bloom Legal today. Our phone lines are open 24/7 and our consultations are always free. Stay safe, New Orleans!

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