How Is the Coronavirus Affecting Minnesota Criminal Courts?

The coronavirus, or COVID-19, has already had a tremendous impact on every aspect of our daily lives here in Minnesota, causing slowdowns as it continues to spread. As our state government issues “stay in place” and “shelter at home” orders to keep the public safe, Minnesota District Courts have been implementing social distancing measures for weeks.

Of course, there are still many people who have recently been charged with a crime or who are being held in custody right now – and under the Constitution, these citizens are still entitled to a speedy resolution of their cases. Luckily, the Minnesota court system has shown a high degree of adaptability during these uncertain and difficult times, by using technology to replace risky in-person meetings when needed.

In response to the pressure of COVID-19, the court system has started to permit the following:

  • Video conferencing for court appearances
  • Phone conferencing for hearings, court appearances, and negotiations
  • Visiting those in custody through partitions and video feeds
  • Prioritizing in-person court appearances for those already in custody, especially those who cannot post bail

If you’ve been accused of a crime, our criminal defense attorneys at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. want to reaffirm that you still have basic Constitutional rights, no matter how long this unpredictable situation may last. Whether by video conference or in-person meeting, the Minnesota courts have a responsibility to ensure that your case is heard and tried as efficiently as possible.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the Minnesota criminal courts are still open and conducting in person hearings in certain circumstances. Individuals in custody will still appear in person for bail hearings and cases where a public safety risk is paramount. Those accused of more minor crimes, such as shoplifting and trespassing, may encounter slight delays into May or June.

Do you have additional questions about the court system for our attorneys? Don’t hesitate to contact our criminal law team at (612) 444-5020 today or contact us online for more information. During the COVID-19 crisis, we will still be available 24/7 to help with your case.

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