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How the Coronavirus Outbreak Is Affecting Due Process & Constitutional Rights in Criminal Cases

How the Coronavirus Outbreak Is Affecting Due Process & Constitutional Rights in Criminal Cases

The Coronavirus outbreak that is sweeping across our country is affecting nearly all aspects of American life – including the court system.

This is truly a challenging time – a time when an individual’s legal rights must be balanced with the health and welfare of the public at large.

Already, the US has experienced over 14,000 cases of Coronavirus and over 200 deaths. In light of statistics like these, many courts are scaling back legal activities, others are delaying trials and still others are closing outright.

All of this is being done to limit exposure to the Coronavirus. But what about a person’s legal rights?

If you face criminal charges these delays could have a significant impact on your rights as defined by the US Constitution, including the right to a speedy trial.

As a result of the court shutdowns you may be required to stay in custody longer and the local jails may become overcrowded.

This is truly an unprecedented time both for America and its court system and to ensure your rights are protected you need an expert criminal defense attorney like Nabiel C. Ahmed looking out for you.

Mr. Ahmed understands the importance of protecting public health but he also understands that the desire to protect public health must be balanced with the protection of the due process rights of those facing criminal charges.

Mr. Ahmed will fight hard to ensure your rights are protected!

Criminal Defense in the Time of Coronavirus

The Mercury News recently reported that Alameda County Superior Court announced a series of postponements and continuances to reduce the number of people coming to courthouses.

The newspaper also reported that “the start of jury trials for civil and misdemeanor cases, and felony cases with an out-of-custody defendant, are being pushed back eight weeks.”

In addition, most traffic hearings in Alameda County were postponed for 60 days and walk-in appearances have been suspended. Appearance dates for citations are being pushed back six months, the newspaper said.

The trial delays are understandable when considering the Coronavirus Pandemic – courthouses need space to meet social distancing requirements.

Officials are also fearful that in heavy-trafficked areas like a courthouse the virus could spread rapidly. That spread could then even reach defendants in custody and wreck havoc on the jail population.

But arguments on the other side of this situation need to be considered as well. Delays like these could have a significant impact on your right as a criminal defendant to a speedy trial. The delays could also impact your ability to resolve your case through a plea agreement.

Both of these things could result in you being forced to stay for longer than you otherwise would have in a potentially overcrowded jail.

Ensure your rights are protected in these difficult times by contacting the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed today.

Your Rights Are Immune to the Coronavirus!

The Constitution of the United States protects basic rights throughout the criminal justice process. Among the protections it offers you are:

  • A fair process in all hearings

  • Equal treatment under the law

  • A pretrial hearing by a grand jury in felony cases

  • A speedy and public trial by an impartial jury

  • You must be present when witnesses testify against you

Perhaps the most important right when it comes to the criminal justice process is the right to “due process,” which is guaranteed in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Here’s what the Fifth Amendment says specifically: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The phrase “due process” refers to your right to be heard and it includes a variety of protections such as the right to a trial, the right to put up evidence, the right to cross-examine witnesses against you, the right to testify if you so choose, the right to make people come to court by issuing a subpoena and more.

These are all extremely important rights and right now due to the Coronavirus outbreak they may end up being challenged in some situations.

For example, how should a court balance the need for a speedy trial with the right to make people come to court via subpoena at a time when the Coronavirus outbreak could make showing up to the courthouse dangerous to that person’s health?

It’s questions like this and many, many others that demonstrate why you need a talented, experienced, highly knowledgeable attorney like Mr. Ahmed on your side looking out for your best interests. Mr. Ahmed is an unprecedented lawyer for an unprecedented time.

He will leverage his expertise and his intense commitment to his clients to ensure your due process rights are not being violated or ignored.

Here is another question that is arising today:

All of those facing a criminal charge have the right to be present at their trial and for their trial to be public – so what does that mean in a time when people are being told to stay home and in many areas to shelter in place?

Most legal experts don’t have a definite answer to these types of questions yet but as the Coronavirus outbreak continues to play out in the weeks and months ahead you can count on Mr. Ahmed to fight as hard as possible to ensure your due process rights are protected.

GET YOUR CORONAVIRUS LEGAL QUESTIONS ANSWERED

If you are facing criminal charges and are concerned about your due process rights being violated or ignored, contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed today.

Likewise, if you have questions about your due process rights as they relate to a quarantine order, contact Attorney Ahmed now.

Many may wonder what rights they have when state and federal governments seek to quarantine individuals – particularly in instances where the quarantine may impact a person’s ability to earn a living and support their family.

Should quarantines be issued that may result in a period where officials scramble to determine what a legal quarantine should look like. Attorney Ahmed could help ensure your rights are protected during this time of potential legal chaos.

Remember, if you do face a quarantine you might not have the right to be released from it but you do have the right to determine whether it is justified.

While the US Constitution mainly divides power between the states and the federal government it does also guarantee certain individual rights, such as the right not to be deprived of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

Contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed for more information on your rights and how to protect them.

Now More Than Ever You Need Your Rights Protected!

Court closings and trial delays could create an overwhelming backlog of criminal cases that could then make it very difficult for you to get the speedy trial you are guaranteed under US law.

Many defendants may feel forced to take unfavorable plea bargains just to get out of lengthy jail stays while awaiting trial.

Don’t make the mistake of accepting a deal that nullifies your rights and punishes you for the court system’s errors.

Let Mr. Ahmed defend you and make sure your rights are protected. He will put all of his considerable talent and knowledge into ensuring you get the best possible outcome to your criminal case.

To learn much more about how the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed can help you with your criminal defense, contact him now.

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