Coronavirus Disrupting the Legal Process
Unfortunately, the recent coronavirus outbreak has disrupted most everyone’s life because of social distancing rules, shelter-in-place rules, and self-quarantining requirements. Yet, the world does not stop, especially if you have been arrested and charged with a crime. Regardless of the current pandemic, you have the same Constitutional rights and should act sooner than later to protect them.
Shelter-in-place or stay-at-home rules may be preventing you from visiting an attorney. Plus, you help stop the spread when you do not go out. Good news. You do not have to visit my office for a free consultation. I provide free case evaluations online and by phone from the comfort of your own home, so you do not have to put yourself at risk for COVID-19 by visiting our office.
COVID-19 Outbreak Has Led to Many Changes in Maine’s Judicial System
The recent outbreak has prompted many changes to hours and procedures involving criminal proceedings, making it in your best interest to consult with a criminal defense attorney in Maine as soon as possible. Depending on your specific circumstances and charges, some or all of the following might apply to you or your case:
- You can only go to the courthouse if you are required to be there. Courts in Portland and throughout Cumberland County are only open from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. until further notice.
- No jury trials or grand jury proceedings will meet during April and May of 2020. This also means courts cannot summon prospective jurors and grand juries will not meet.
- Maine Superior Court and Maine District Court have extended the deadline to pay any fines, court fees, and restitution until May 4th, 2020.
- Maine Superior Court and Maine District Court have vacated all outstanding warrants for unpaid fines, unpaid restitution, and failure to appear for hearings or pay other fees.
Changes to Arrest Procedures Prompted by Coronavirus
In an effort to adhere to social distancing guidelines and avoid filling up county jail, law enforcement officers throughout Maine have been issuing more summons instead of making arrests. When arrests are made, individuals can typically post bail at a police station instead of going to the county jail, unless they committed a violent crime. In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, officers are trying to avoid arrests as much as possible.
What to Expect from Your Remote Case Evaluation
Whether you meet with your attorney at an office or participate in a remote case evaluation from home, you can expect the cover the same information. Below you can find a broad overview of the things most often discussed during a case evaluation.
During the first conversation, a good portion of time is dedicated to discussing the circumstances of your case. Your attorney needs to know your account of the events that led to your charges. Expect to answer several questions that hone in on any details that will help your attorney better understand your situation. Everything you share with him, even during your initial consultation, is confidential as required by law.
After hearing about the event(s) which led to your arrest and/or charges and having a better grasp about the specifics of your case, the attorney you meet with will likely give you an overview of the legal aspects of your case. This includes a discussion of potential consequences of conviction and possible defense tactics and strategies the attorney can use to help you. Your attorney will likely also address other potential outcomes that you might face and the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
Once a lawyer has more specific knowledge about your case, its complexity, and the time and effort required for defense, he can give you a better estimate of attorney fees for representation. More complex cases take more time to defend, so fees are typically higher.
Preparing for a Case Evaluation from Home
Even though coronavirus has you trapped at home, you can still come prepared to a consultation via video conference or phone call. Some tips to ensure you are prepared for a remote case evaluation include:
Provide Any Paperwork You Have
When your potential criminal defense attorney has all the paperwork related to your case, he can provide you with more detailed information about strategies and potential outcomes for your case. The paperwork might also provide valuable evidence for your case. Prior to a video or telephone call, email or text your information to your attorney. You can snap photos of documents with your phone or scan them to your computer. Examples of paperwork you should share include arrest records, court documents, and contact information for witnesses.
Make Note of Any Questions You Have Ahead of Time
Your case evaluation also serves as an opportunity for you to ask questions of your potential attorney. Write down any questions you have ahead of time and make sure to get them answered. This will help you learn about the necessary aspects of the judicial process and also show your attorney that you are committed to actively pursuing the best outcome for your case.
Keep a Pen and Paper Handy
During your case evaluation, you will likely hear a lot of information from your attorney about your case and defense strategies. Take notes of the things you think you need to remember for the future and write down any questions that come up during the discussion.
Contact The Law Office of Richard Berne Today for a Remote Case Evaluation
If you have been charged with a crime, you do not need to put your health or the health of others at risk to venture out and meet with a lawyer. Contact The Law Office of Richard Berne at (207) 871-7770 to schedule a free consultation or submit your case for review online.
Richard Berne has more than four decades of legal experience and has represented dozens of clients who have been charged with a wide variety of crimes. Today’s pandemic creates uncertainty around every corner when you are already feeling anxious about your situation. Put your mind at ease and schedule a remote consultation today. If you chose to hire our firm, we can handle all case forms via encrypted software and email.