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Covid 19

What to Expect in San Antonio Family Court
March 23, 2020
Child Custody and Visitation during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic in Texas
March 26, 2020

In the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the San Antonio community is coming together like never before.  These are trying times for all of us.  The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world, this country and our community upside down.  In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one are arrested in San Antonio or the surrounding areas, for any criminal offense, child support delinquency or for any other reason, the anxiety is exponentially increased due to Covid-19.  Here are a few helpful tips from an experienced San Antonio criminal defense lawyer to help ease your anxiety. 

If you are arrested for any offense it is in your best interest to cooperate with the arresting officer.  This is sound advice from any practicing criminal defense lawyer regardless of Covid-19.  Resisting arrest, evading arrest or engaging in a physical altercation with the arresting officer will only lead to more trouble.  Even if you feel the arrest is unlawful it is in your best interest to comply with the arresting officer.  There is no question that this is an incredibly stressful time, however, your actions at the time of your arrest will have consequences as to how your case is handled in the future.  Be polite and cooperative.  Ask for a lawyer.  Know your rights.  Do not answer any questions or try to “talk your way out of it”.  It’s not going to work.  Keep your mouth shut.  You have a right to remain silent.  Invoke that right.   

If you have tested positive for Covid-19 or any other communicable disease you should calmly alert the arresting officer.  If you have not been tested but are experiencing flu like symptoms you should alert the arresting officer.  If you have potentially been exposed to Covid-19 you should alert the arresting officer.  In these circumstances, it is imperative that you alert the arresting officer so that the proper medical precautions can be maintained for your safety and for the safety of the community as a whole. 

          You can expect to be held in the intake block until you see a magistrate judge.  This is a lengthy process where your risk of exposure is great.  The County Jail should be taking precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  However, you can expect that it will be close quarters and very uncomfortable.  Do your best to keep at least 6 feet away from the other individuals in detention.  If any individual in detention is experiencing flu like symptoms you need to alert the floor sergeant.  To the best of your ability, wash your hands every chance that you have.  If there is no facility to wash your hands, utilize any hand sanitizing station that is available.  Limit your physical contact with those around you.  Do not shake hands or exchange hugs.  Do not share food or water with other detainees.    

          For family members of the arrestee:  It is imperative that you contact an attorney immediately.  Your attorney can assist in the bonding process, help get you a surety bond, help facilitate modifying bond conditions or get a bond set if you or a loved one is remanded without bond (RWOB).  Additionally, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic the county jail is making attempts to release non-violent offenders.  It is possible that your attorney can help secure release of non-violent offenders who have been detained by requesting a PR bond or a hearing to reduce bond.

          Most court dates for those who are out on bond are being extended until after this pandemic dissipates.  If you have a court date coming up and are unsure of when it is, you should contact your attorney and/or your bondsman.  If you have a court hearing during this crisis, it is imperative that you exercise the same pre-cautions outlined above.  If you are experiencing flu like symptoms, DO NOT GO TO COURT!  Contact your attorney so that the attorney can postpone your hearing date.  If you have been tested positive for Covid-19 or potentially been exposed, DO NOT GO TO COURT!  Contact your attorney so that your hearing date can be postponed.  If you are asymptomatic and have a court date you should still take necessary precautions.  Talk to your attorney and see if your hearing date can be postponed. 

May courts in Bexar County are utilizing alternative means of conducting court.  Telephonic and video conferencing are means to avoid personal contact.  Judge Stephanie Boyd in the 187th District Court is utilizing video.  Check out this link: https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Thinking-outside-the-box-Videoconferencing-15144632.php?t=79a5c96fd1&fbclid=IwAR3Y36C5TEpG-fiQwdhQ877BcfEZ-r2jJaH-7TAo_LHivvLnuAhJ9XXdwm0

If you presiding judge is not offering video hearings and you are in the courthouse, limit physical contact with those around.  Do not shake hands or hug those around you.  Try to keep 6 feet between you and other individuals.  There are hand sanitizing stations set up all around the county courthouse for you to utilize.  Do your best to keep yourself, your family and your community safe from this incredibly dangerous virus.              The criminal defense attorneys at Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda are here to help you.  For more information in this difficult and chaotic time check our website www.hgclaw.com for Covid-19 updates.  If you have any further questions, please contact me at (210) 222-9132 or by email at bobby@hgclaw.com.