COVID-19 AND PENDING COURT CASES
APRIL 2021 UPDATE: The Maryland court system is currently operating in Phase IV in which virtually all types of court cases are occurring, with the exception of jury trials.
The courts are scheduled to enter Phase V, in which the courts will be fully operational, including the resumption of jury trials, beginning on April 26, 2021.
Changes to court proceedings due to COVID-19.
The litigators at Anthenelli, Phoebus & Hickman, LLC have been in the circuit and district courts with little interruption since the coronavirus pandemic struck. We are familiar with all of the protocols in place and have adapted our practice to continue to litigate on behalf of our clients during this time period.
Due to COVID screening at the entrance to all courts, we recommend arriving at least 15-20 minutes early for any scheduled court hearing. Upon entering a courthouse, in addition to passing security screening, you will be asked standard COVID-related questions and will have your temperature taken. If you have been exposed to COVID or have symptoms of COVID, please contact us so that we may notify the court and have your case postponed.
Many courts, to reduce courtroom crowding, are staggering the start time of cases throughout the day. Make sure to check with our office to confirm the time that your case will be called. This is in order to limit the number of persons in the courtroom.
Seating arrangements vary based upon the court. Generally, family members are permitted to sit together, but you will be required to socially distance from other persons attending court.
Masks are required at all times for all participants in a court proceeding.
Status of courts and state agencies during the coronavirus crisis
The following sites contain the most up to date information regarding the status of the courts and various state agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Maryland Judiciary: https://mdcourts.gov/coronavirusupdate
Governor Hogan’s Executive Orders: https://governor.maryland.gov/covid-19-pandemic-orders-and-guidance/
Office of Administrative Hearings: http://oah.maryland.gov/
Maryland MVA: http://www.mva.maryland.gov/covid-19.htm
Motor Vehicle Administration Hearings
All Motor Vehicle Administration hearings are occurring virtually, rather than at MVA branch locations. Additionally, the branch offices of the MVA are closed to walk-in appointments, but instead require advanced scheduling, which affects an accused DUI driver’s ability to opt-in to the ignition interlock program. If you have been charged with a DUI, we encourage you to contact us immediately for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation during which we will advise you on how best to protect your ability to drive during the modified MVA operations during this pandemic.
ANTHENELLI, PHOEBUS & HICKMAN, LLC’s present operations
Our firm is open for regular business hours at both our Crisfield and Salisbury, Maryland locations. We are offering telephone and secure video conferencing consultations to our clients who do not wish to meet in person. If you have an appointment and would like to convert it to a telephone conference or a secure video conference, please contact us, and we will provide you with the information necessary to set up the appointment.
Our attorneys are making both in-person and virtual court appearances in support of our clients. We are advocating on behalf of our clients who are incarcerated pending trial in efforts to obtain emergency releases of clients pending their trials or sentencing until this crisis passes.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms or have been in close, prolonged contact with any person who has experienced these symptoms: fever or chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or any other flu-like symptoms, please do not visit our offices. We are offering telephone and secure videoconferencing to our clients and prospective clients in lieu of an in-person meeting.
ANTHENELLI, PHOEBUS & HICKMAN, LLC’s future plans
We will not close our offices and will remain fully functional to meet all of our clients’ needs during and after the pandemic.