If you received a traffic ticket and want to contest the ticket or the charges you are facing, it is important to know about the current policies for in-court hearings during the coronavirus era. For quite some time, Kansas City residents with traffic tickets were not considered to be priority or essential cases, and they were largely unable to have their cases heard by a judge. However, according to a recent news release from the Kansas Judicial Branch, courts in Kansas City, Kansas and throughout Kansas can now conduct in-person hearings, but there are a number of restrictions designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
We want to tell you more about these new administrative orders concerning the safe operation of courts in and around Kansas City and what they may mean for Kansas City, Kansas residents waiting to have their traffic ticket cases heard.
Orders Regarding Courtroom Capacity and Social Distancing
Previously, as of May 1, Kansas courts were required to abide by a 10-person limit inside courtrooms and a 12-person limit for seated jury selection. The recent news release indicates that those limits are now lifted, but only “as long as each person has at least 6 feet of social distancing.” In addition, any workspaces in the courtroom are required to provide “social distancing for each worker or have other protections in place that have been approved by a local public health official.”
In sum, certain limits of people have been relaxed inside Kansas courtrooms, but only provided that social distancing is possible given the space of the courtroom and the number of people within it.
In-Person Hearings can Resume in Limited Ways
During the coronavirus stay-at-home orders in Kansas City and throughout the region, courtrooms were closed to all but essential matters. What those stay-at-home orders meant then, in practice, was that Kansas City residents waiting to have a traffic offense case heard would need to wait. According to the news release, Kansas courts are now permitted to conduct in-person hearings, but only if the courts are able to meet social distancing requirements. Even though courtrooms now may be open for in-person hearings, many cases will still be heard through video or audio conferencing. According to the news release, the Kansas Supreme Court is encouraging the use of video and audio conferencing “as much as possible.”
In terms of jury trials, there are still restrictions. The news release explains that jury trials can “only proceed when necessary to protect the constitutional speedy trial rights of a defendant.” An Ad Hoc Jury Task Force is still working to develop safe practices for conducting jury trials.
Remote Hearings Will Continue
As you might have surmised from the information about limited in-person hearings, remote hearings will continue. Accordingly, courts should continue to plan for “two-way audio and video hearings in place of requiring people to report to court.”
Contact a Traffic Lawyer in Kansas City
If you have questions about fighting a Kansas City traffic ticket and need more information about the court status of traffic court cases, an experienced Kansas City traffic ticket defense attorney can speak with you today. Contact Aimee the Attorney to learn more about how our firm can assist you.