Statement from Jason Schatz:
Schatz Anderson & Associates is open during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Friends and family members of Schatz Anderson and Associates, over the last week to 10 days, we’ve been receiving lots of phone calls, lots of emails with lots of questions about what’s going on with regard to court cases and coronavirus. We’ve been trying to answer these questions as quickly as possible, but I felt it might be easier if we simply put out a video and made this available to everybody who might be looking for answers. So one of the first questions we got is, “is Schatz Anderson still open for business?” And the answer is yes, but due to the unpredictable nature and the unknown issues surrounding COVID-19 we are limiting our access as far as personal contact, but we are available by phone, email, and text message. I want to inform and assure everybody, current clients, potential clients that we will stay open for business throughout this entire crisis to do as much as we can to further your cases for our clients, and also to simply be available to provide assistance to those who might have recently been arrested or cited or who are in their need of any kind of criminal legal services.
Utah courts are proceeding with cases despite coronavirus closures.
One of the other questions I’ve received is, “what should I do if I’ve recently been arrested or cited?” If you know somebody who’s recently been cited or arrested, advise them that they still need to act quickly to preserve their rights and to properly deal with their case. They can’t simply assume that the coronavirus is going to put some sort of a delay or the prosecutor’s going to forget about their case. Even though the courts are substantially closed. Law enforcement is out there. They’re making arrests, they’re giving citations. They’re not taking many people to jail unless it’s a felony, but that doesn’t mean your case isn’t going to proceed. The courts are proceeding with cases.
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you still only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to file a written request for hearing to try to get a hearing to save your driver’s license.
They’re processing charges and deadlines are still in place, particularly if you’ve been arrested or cited for a crime of domestic violence. They’re scheduling those hearings still within a couple of days. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you still only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to file a written request for hearing to try to get a hearing to save your driver’s license. So don’t delay, don’t make that mistake. You still need to reach out and get help immediately.
Another question that I’ve heard is, “are the courts still open and are hearings being held?” And again, the answer there is yes. This Utah Supreme court did issue an order dated March 21st basically indicating that almost all out of custody defendant cases are going to be continued until at least after June 1st. However, there are still some cases in custody cases and even out of custody cases that the courts are proceeding.
Things such as bail hearings, warrant hearings, cases involving domestic violence may not be handled in court, but they may be done telephonically or through video conferencing. We are providing updates about court closures, driver’s license division closures, and other matters affecting DUI and criminal cases on our Facebook page. So, for updated information about things such as that, follow us on Facebook at Schatz Anderson and Associates. Share that with your friends or family so that they can follow us and get these updates as well.
Schatz Anderson is working to reschedule Utah court hearings until after June 1st.
Many of you have called or emailed wondering what to do if I have a hearing scheduled. If you are a current client of Schatz Anderson and you have a hearing scheduled between now and June 1st, we are working to reschedule all of those hearings. If you have not already been contacted by myself or one of our staff members and you’re not sure if your hearing is going to be continued or proceeding as scheduled, please contact our office immediately.
Our office number is (801) 746-0447 in Salt Lake, and in St. George (435) 251-9647.
If we don’t answer immediately, please leave us a message and somebody will get back to you. But if you have a hearing scheduled after June 1st, plan to proceed as scheduled unless you hear otherwise from us. So if you are arrested or cited for DUI and you have an administrative driver’s license hearing scheduled, those hearings are proceeding as normal other than the fact that all hearings will be conducted telephonically. So, if you have questions about court dates, please contact us and get the answers.
Other clients have asked, well, “what is going on with my case while we’re sort of on this hiatus?” And the answer is just because we’re not in court doesn’t mean that we’re not working on your case.
We still continue to request discovery. We’re getting discovery, we’re reviewing discovery, we’re taking this time to review cases, prepare motions to suppress so that once the courts reopen, we’re prepared and fully ready to go forward with your case. We’re also working on cases behind the scenes dealing with prosecutors, trying to negotiate plea deals. And frankly at this point some of the plea deals might be better than they normally would be under the circumstances. So we’re trying to work with prosecutors behind the scenes to resolve as many cases as possible rather than delay them. And if we can reach a plea agreement rather than going to court, we’re reducing those agreements to writing. We’re submitting them to the client for their signature and we’re filing them with the court and moving these cases forward. So if we contact the prosecutor on your case and we reach a resolution, we will contact you, we will discuss it with you. If we determine it’s a favorable plea deal, we will do what we can to resolve your case now rather than kicking it down the road for several months.
Some of the other questions we’ve been receiving are important questions as well, “what if I’m currently on probation?” Well, if you’re a current client of ours who is currently on probation and in the process of completing your probation requirements, whether it be community service counseling classes, doing random UAs, other treatment, or just your probation check-ins, it is important that you do your best to continue to complete those requirements, if at all possible. Many treatment providers, probation providers who are unable to meet in person, are moving therapy sessions and classes online. They’re using telephone check-ins, they’re using tele-video conferencing technology to continue to provide services. So please check in with your treatment or probation provider to see what options are available for you to continue to comply. But if it’s absolutely not possible, please document why you are unable to complete your probation conditions; i.e., class was canceled, the facility where you’re doing UAs was closed. The charities where you were doing community service are no longer allowing it. Just give me something saying there’s a reason why you can’t comply. Coronavirus is not going to be a get out of jail free card. So when the crisis is over, you still will be required to complete your probation conditions or you can face consequences from the court for failing to comply.
For people who are simply trying to figure out how to do their community service, one idea that we’ve come up with that’s gotten some good responses from prosecutors and judges is instead of doing community service, donations are needed. We’ve had several judges and several prosecutors agree that in lieu of community service, our clients can make charitable donations. Typically the agreed upon amount is $10 for each hour of community service. If you are in need of trying to complete community service and you can’t do that, but you’ve got the funds to make a donation and help out in the community, that may be an option. If that’s the case for you, please contact your attorney at our office and we’ll see what we can do to arrange for them.
Again, I just want to stress if you have any questions about your case or your court hearings, please reach out to us by phone or email. If you receive a voicemail at our office, it just means we’re helping somebody else. We’re very busy right now. Leave us a message and somebody will get back to you within a very short period of time. Last but certainly not least, we hope that all of our clients, friends, family, colleagues, will all take the necessary steps and measures to stay safe at this difficult time. But rest assured, we are here to help. We will remain open and we will be available to assist you with all of your needs throughout this crisis. So from Schatz Anderson Associates, we just want to say to everybody, be safe. Don’t panic. We’re all going to get through this if we all work together. Take care.
Salt Lake City: (801) 746-0447
St. George: (435) 251-9647
We are providing updates about court closures, driver’s license division closures, and other matters affecting DUI and criminal cases on our Facebook page. So, for updated information about things such as that, follow us on Facebook at Schatz Anderson and Associates. Share that with your friends or family so that they can follow us and get these updates as well.
The nature of this situation is rapidly changing. Please check the Utah State Courts Alerts and Information page for official updates from the Utah Judiciary.