California Courts Make Temporary Changes Due to COVID-19

On April 6th, California's court system released a list of emergency measures it would be taking to address serious issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. 11 emergency measures were announced, most notable of which were the elimination of bail for misdemeanors and most nonviolent felonies and new limits on evictions and foreclosures. Courts will also be conducting pretrial hearings remotely.

Here is the list of the 11 emergency measures that were announced:

  1. Entry of defaults in eviction cases will be suspended
  2. Judicial foreclosures will be suspended
  3. Courts can require judicial proceedings and court operations to be held remotely
  4. Statewide emergency bail schedule that sets bail at $0 for most misdemeanors and lower-level felonies
  5. Defendants can appear via counsel or remote technologies for pretrial criminal hearings
  6. Juvenile justice proceedings will be prioritized with a set a structure for remote hearings and continuances
  7. Time for specified temporary restraining orders will be extended
  8. Statutes of limitations governing civil actions will be extended
  9. Electronic depositions will be allowed in civil cases

The measures are being implemented to help reduce jail populations and protect vulnerable residents in the state from losing their homes in the midst of the pandemic. According to Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, chair The California Judicial Council, "We are at this point truly with no guidance in history, law, or precedent. And to say that there is no playbook is a gross understatement of the situation."

$0 Bail Measure

For individuals facing most misdemeanors and lower-level felony offenses, the emergency measure that sets bail amounts to $0 will have the greatest impact. However, the $0 bail measure will not apply to defendants charged with violent felonies or felonies involving domestic violence, DUI, stalking, or sex offender crimes.

Turn to Our Criminal Defense Team Today for Legal Assistance

While any kind of criminal accusation can be stressful to deal with, the potentially deadly consequences of being locked in jail during this pandemic are understandably frightening. If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, please reach out to our law firm to discuss how your legal options and rights might be impacted by COVID-19.

To schedule a case consultation with one of our skilled lawyers at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, please call us today at (800) 462-7160.