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Court “Resets” Unduly Prolong Incarceration Before Trial

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic spike in Texas court resets —rescheduling of trials or hearings to later dates. Many criminal courts have been closed since March 24 due to health concerns, and court proceedings previously scheduled in the spring and summer have been pushed off for several months. Court resets delay the resolution of a case and in so doing extend incarceration for defendants who cannot afford to post bail.

Critics say excessive court resets promote a system that encourages people to plead guilty in order to end their indefinite pretrial detention, even if it means accepting a jail sentence. In some cases, a defendant represented by an experienced criminal attorney can have charges reduced or secure a lighter punishment through a plea bargain.

However, a guilty plea can cause long-term, serious damage to a person’s life. In addition to jail time, fines and other penalties, pleading guilty results in a criminal record that can haunt a person for life. A criminal record can result in:

  • Barriers to employment — Because employers often require criminal background checks, a criminal record can make it difficult to find a job. In addition, a criminal record can impose restrictions on professional licenses, making certain careers off-limits.
  • Barriers to education — Questions about criminal history are common on college applications, including less selective and non-selective institutions. Many people are denied access to higher education opportunities that could lead to full, successful lives and safer communities.
  • Barriers to accessing housing — Public housing authorities and owners of government-assisted housing may screen out applicants with criminal records.
  • Limited child custody — Particularly if the conviction was for a crime of violence or domestic abuse, having a criminal record can restrict child custody rights.
  • Ability to own firearms — Licensed gun sellers cannot legally sell firearms to people who served more than a year in prison, in addition to drug users, undocumented immigrants, and those convicted of domestic violence.
  • Immigration problems — A criminal record could prevent someone from obtaining a green card or becoming a U.S. citizen.

Before pleading guilty to charges, we urge you to first consult with the lawyers at the Law Offices of Kevin Collins in San Antonio. Our experienced legal team can assess your charges to determine the likelihood of conviction and determine the best strategy for your case. If you are eligible, we will fight to have your criminal charges reduced or dropped. Schedule a free case evaluation by calling 210-598-8629 or contacting us online.

COVID-19 Notice
We are here to help and support you through these generally challenging times with your specific legal issues. You will be able to reach me or my staff through our main telephone numbers, and of course by email: [email protected]. Phone conferences for existing and potential clients are available, as is the video conference feature through the Zoom app. Zoom may present some privacy challenges so phone conferences are preferred. Please take care of your health by following the measures recommended by the CDC, and by state and local authorities.
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