Is Your Loved One in Jail at the Time of COVID?  A New Supreme Court Order Makes It More Possible to Get Them Out

Is Your Loved One in Jail at the Time of COVID? A New Supreme Court Order Makes It More Possible to Get Them Out

If your loved one is in jail right now waiting for their criminal case to resolve, we understand that you are probably frightened for their safety due to COVID-19/Coronavirus. You may also be frustrated and confused at the lack of information given to you by the jail staff about whether new rules have been put in place to protect your loved ones.

The Washington State Supreme Court just issued a new state-wide order that affects all courts. The Supreme Court is taking COVID-19 very seriously and has ordered all other courts in Washington to take it seriously as well. The order has pretty much shut down most criminal hearings. Courts are still allowed to hold hearings for people who are in jail, however. First appearances, arraignments, plea hearings, criminal motions, and sentencing hearings are still being heard.

More importantly, courts are still allowed to hear pre-trial jail release and bail modification motions. The Supreme Court has even made it a bit easier for attorneys to schedule motions for pre-trial release in all courts. It is a dangerous time for inmates in Washington. Most jails are not set up to properly prevent the spread of this virus within their walls. For example, alcohol-based sanitizer, which is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, is considered contraband. As more people in jail are testing positive for COVID-19, it is clear that something needs to be done for Washington State’s in-custody defendants.

Motions for pre-trial release are now going to be heard on an expedited basis without requiring any kind of motion to extend deadlines. For those who are identified as part of a vulnerable or at-risk population by the CDC, COVID-19 is now presumed to be a “material change in circumstances,” so a skilled Lynnwood criminal defense attorney will not have to write up additional briefing on this novel coronavirus to the court. As a side note, a material change in circumstance is required for the court to change someone’s bail order. If your loved one is vulnerable, the court will have no choice but to find that circumstances have changed for him or her, which can help get your loved one released.

If your loved one is considered vulnerable or at-risk, and their attorney requests a hearing to get them released, the court must schedule the hearing within 5 days of that request. However, your attorney still has to convince the court that your loved one is at-risk or vulnerable, which for some may require a good amount of leg-work gathering medical records and declarations. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Lance Fryrear are experienced in dealing with the forms and people necessary to get this paperwork together for a pre-trial release motion.

For those who are not necessarily at risk or vulnerable, the Court said the COVID-19 crisis may still constitute a material change in circumstances and “new information,” which would allow the amendment of a previous bail order or allow the court to set different conditions of release. It will ultimately be up to the court to decide whether there have been changed circumstances.

For Juvenile cases, the court may hold a new detention hearing. If your loved one is a juvenile and is currently in jail on a pending charge, please call us today.

The Supreme Court order also allows your criminal defense attorney to work with the prosecutor on releasing you or your loved one from jail. If your attorney and the prosecutor agree that you or your loved one should be released from jail, they can both sign off on an order for release and file it with the court. The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear has established strong and positive relationships with prosecutors throughout Washington and can work with them to try to get you or your loved ones released.

To get your loved one out of jail pre-trial, you will need to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to schedule these types of hearings and knows what kind of information the judges need to see in order to agree to a release. Call us today so we can start working to get your loved one out of jail. Call us and we will be there for you