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Coping tips from Fairfax criminal lawyer on arrests during coronavirus

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Coping tips from Fairfax criminal lawyer on arrests during coronavirus- External prison photo

Coping tips from Fairfax criminal lawyer on arrests during coronavirus

Coping with arrests and jailing during the pandemic – Tips from Fairfax criminal lawyer

Coping in normal times with police investigations, arrests and prosecutions is always enough of a challenge for criminal defendants, their families and loved ones. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that the arrest challenge is increased all the more with the current pandemic, where police and jailers need to consider enforcing the law while being cognizant of the pandemic-related risks of getting close to any suspect and to placing them in jail.

Add to the coping mix is that on March 27, 2020, the Virginia Supreme Court extended its pandemic-related judicial emergency to April 26, 2020, which translate into generally not holding trials through nearly the end of April 2020. Praised be the many devoted public defender lawyers and private practitioners have who have been pursuing the pretrial release of their incarcerated clients and the shortening of sentences for defendant still held in the jails versus in the prison system. Virginia’s governor has advocated the reduction of inmate populations during this pandemic, and various prosecutors’ offices, including the Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, have been working to varying degrees to reduce the jail population of those charged and convicted with less serious crimes.

The importance of obtaining a qualified Virginia criminal lawyer soon after being denied release on bond

Being jailed pending trial or preliminary hearing (collectively “Trial”) has escalated from a threat to one’s livelihood, family participation, self-rehabilitation, and reputation, to being a health threat. When a criminal defendant is denied bond or receives a bond amount and/or pretrial release conditions that are too oppressive to satisfy, that makes it important to obtain a qualified retained or court appointed lawyer with little delay to pursue pretrial release and to cope with the prosecution.

The inmate’s lawyer can develop with his her client persuasive court arguments about why the inmate is not a risk of flight nor harm to himself or others, and can include arguments about how the public interest and defendant’s health are best served by not adding the defendant to the coronavirus jail incubator and spreader. Additionally, the court can be reminded the that the Fairfax and other jails no longer allow family visits during the pandemic, where such visits are a safety valve against inmate arrest. The attorney can help his or her client with the coping process, of course not on a psychologist’s level.

What inmates can do if not released pretrial

The best way to avoid being jailed pretrial is to legally avoid being arrested at all, staring with not violating the law nor being so close to the action as inviting police investigation and arrest. If a police officer says a suspect is under arrest, the suspect can ask the police officer whether it is possible to issue the suspect a summons instead during the pandemic, which means not needing a jail visit before trial, and coping better with the case. If the magistrate denies pretrial release to an arrestee, the defendant — through his or her lawyer — may ask the District Court judge to grant bond. If the District Court Judge denies bond, the defendant may appeal for a new pretrial release evidentiary hearing in Circuit Court. If pretrial release is denied in Circuit Court, the defendant may continue with the coping process by appealing from the Circuit Court proceedings to the Virginia Court of Appeals and next the Virginia Supreme Court.

Coping while detained

Check out my previous article on coping in detention. If you get convicted, seek alternatives to incarceration if the judge is considering jail.

Fairfax criminal lawyer / Virginia DUI attorney Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense against felony, misdemeanor & DUI prosecutions. Call 703-383-1100 to schedule a consultation with Jon Katz — free for in-person visits about court-pending cases.