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Law Offices of Horwitz & Citro, P.A. on COVID-19 and Response by the Federal and State Courts

Our practice predominately focuses on defending clients in criminal and civil matters against federal and state agencies. Federal and state courts have not been immune from the COVID-19 pandemic. All federal and state courts have temporarily altered the right to speedy jury trials due to the risk of people gathering in large groups for jury selection.

In federal courts, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161, known as the Speedy Trial Act (STA), a client has the right to a trial within 70 days after an indictment is filed or has appeared in court where the charges were lodged, whichever occurs later. Provisions of the STA permit a judge to extend that period where the judge concludes “that the ends of justice served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.” Judges have found the ends of justice are served by postponing trials until further notice because the COVID-19 pandemic. If your trial date is pending, that finding can be challenged but must be done immediately. States, including Florida, have responded similarly. Florida’s rule on speedy trial requires a trial within 175 days on felony charges unless the defendant waives the right to a speedy trial.

While some of our clients are awaiting trial, others are waiting for the government to file criminal or civil charges. Both kinds of cases are important, and we know how to use this time to defend your liberty. Trial lawyers know that every hour spent in court is made possible by spending several hours outside of court preparing. Competent trial lawyers know how to effectively make use of this time for your benefit. We previously talked about why it is important to know your lawyer goes to trials and the accolades the public can safely rely on when selecting a lawyer. We are certified as criminal trial experts by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy, both of which require experts to first have conducted a significant number of trials.

If you have been arrested, are under investigation, or are reflecting on whether you have the right lawyer, we are open and available during the COVID-19 pandemic. We offer video chat, phone, or e-mail communications for our current and prospective clients who prefer not to meet in person. We are admitted in federal jurisdictions throughout the U.S., and handle state court matters throughout Florida.

We are here to help. Please continue to follow social distancing protocols, stay healthy, and stay safe.

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