People ask us all the time if there’s anything they should know before going to court. Before Covid-19 we would tell folks to arrive at the courthouse about 30 minutes early and to dress like they’re going to church. Those tips are still important, but there have been a few new tips since Covid-19 changed the way we all interact with each other.
The first thing to know is that the Spokane District Court, Spokane Municipal Court and Spokane Superior Court have all tried to reduce the number of in-person court hearings. This has led to some hearings being done through video conferencing, like Zoom. However, some hearings, like a DUI First Appearance or other criminal hearings may still require folks to physically go to the courthouse. We have seen some problems with judges cancelling hearings or rescheduling them at the last minute. The best advice for this is to encourage folks to stay patient and to stay flexible.
Next is the face covering issue. Governor Jay Inslee has made it a crime in the State of Washington to not wear a face covering inside a building that’s open to the public. Anyone visiting a courthouse has to follow the mask requirements, too. If you’re going inside any courthouse in Washington State, then you have to wear a mask unless you have a medical exemption or are exempt from the mask requirement for some reason.
Lastly, bring your own pen! Plenty of illnesses can be transmitted by touching infected surfaces. Most courtrooms have extra pens lying around that anyone can use. Those pens have been passed around by folks who may or may not be sick. By using your own pen you’ll reduce at least that one surface touch and avoid that potential source of exposure.
Different government branches and agencies are trying to do more online or over the phone, but those changes take time. If you’re battling a legal issue and if you’re worried about having to attend a court hearing, then call Cooney Law Offices today and let’s see if we can help guide you through the court process.