If you are hoping that the coronavirus shutdowns will stop you from getting arrested or charged with a crime, you might be disappointed. During the coronavirus shutdowns and stay-in-place orders across Maryland, the police are still working to arrest people and fight crime as they usually do. This might mean that if there is a warrant for your arrest or a search warrant to look around in your house, it might still be executed during the pandemic. Rice, Murtha & Psoras ’s Baltimore criminal defense lawyers explain.
Will Police Serve Warrants During the Coronavirus Shutdowns in Maryland?
Essential government operations are still doing their best to function as normal during the coronavirus shutdowns. This means that police are still arresting people for crimes during this period. Charges for theft and domestic violence in Baltimore are also likely on the rise as people struggle to get things they need and as people are stuck inside together. This means that if you have a warrant, the police might still execute it and arrest you.
Criminal arrest warrants may still need to be issued for serious crimes during this period. If you were charged with theft or other minor issues like disorderly conduct charges, there is not likely to be a warrant for your arrest. Instead, police might issue a citation or a warning instead of arresting you. However, if you are being investigated for a serious crime, police might still use an arrest warrant to come to your house and arrest you. Since they know you will likely be at your house, this might even make arresting you easier.
If you have a bench warrant in Baltimore, you could also be arrested at any time. If you are out getting groceries or going to work at an essential business, you could be stopped by police. With stay-at-home orders in place, police have more leeway to stop people and question them to see if they are violating the order. If they stop you for this purpose and find you have a bench warrant, they could arrest you.
Can I Get Arrested and Sent to Jail During the COVID-19 Outbreak in Maryland?
If you are arrested, police might take steps to avoid sending you to jail. Person-to-person contact is being strongly discouraged at this time, and police and prosecutors throughout the country are taking steps to schedule court dates for later this year or avoid jail time for nonviolent offenders. This helps prevent coronavirus spreading among jail and prison populations. However, if you were arrested for a serious crime, there might be nothing the police can do except put you in jail.
Right now, being in jail is incredibly dangerous. COVID-19 can spread from droplets in someone’s cough, sneeze, or breath, and it can remain on surfaces. This means that prisons and jails are limiting person-to-person contact. Some jails and prisons are keeping prisoners in their cells 24/7, practically turning all jails into solitary confinement. Meals are even be served in cells, and recreation or visitation time is being limited or cut off entirely. This can make jail time during the pandemic a far harsher sentence than you might anticipate.
Getting Warrants Cleared During the Coronavirus Outbreak in Maryland
If you think that there is an arrest warrant for you or you know that you have an outstanding bench warrant, call a Maryland bench warrant lawyer immediately to get it taken care of. As mentioned, with increased police presence and the potential that you could be stopped simply for being outside during the coronavirus outbreak, the chances of being arrested on an outstanding bench warrant are increased. Additionally, if your crime was serious enough that there is a pending arrest warrant, it is likely that police will not hesitate to arrest you at home.
Bench warrants can often be cleared by making arrangements with the court. A bench warrant is usually issued for a failure to appear in court. However, if the judge knows that you have rescheduled a court date, retained a criminal defense lawyer, and prepared yourself to appear at that court date, they might be willing to drop the bench warrant. This can help you get the case rescheduled for some time soon – perhaps after the virus cases are reduced – so that you can address the charges without getting arrested.
If there is a pending criminal arrest warrant, you might not have the notice you need to do anything about it. Police do not usually advertise when and where they will arrest people, which means that you might be arrested at work, at home, or at any other location police suspect you to be. If you suspect that there might be a warrant for you, you could take similar steps to have a lawyer try to arrange something other than arrest. There might be opportunities to plead guilty and arrange sentencing without going to court, but there is no guarantee. In many of these cases, you might still be arrested, but we may be able to argue for bail. If your case is nonviolent or you would be at a high risk of getting the coronavirus in jail, we might be able to arrange alternatives such as probation, house arrest, or fines to resolve your case.
Call Our Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
Talk to a lawyer about what options are available. A lot is unknown at this time about how the government will handle criminal cases, so we need to look into each case individually to know how to help you. Rice, Murtha & Psoras are remaining open during the coronavirus pandemic, and our Maryland criminal defense lawyers are doing what we can to help the accused in this difficult time. Call our law offices today at (410) 694-7291 to set up a free legal consultation.