Several of Tampa Bay’s defense attorneys are calling upon law enforcement to eliminate custodial arrests for non-violent infractions in order to help quell the spread of COVID-19 in the area.
The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said in a statement last week that arrests involving people unlikely to flee can be substituted with notices to appear, which are of equal weight as an arrest but do not involve custody.
Such notices are available for those with substantial ties to the community and who have not had a history of failing to appear in court. The clear advantage to such an approach in a time of epidemic is that it eliminates the need for further contact with law enforcement via transport and booking into jail as well as preventing contact with other jail inmates.
In addition, the association is petitioning Governor Ron DeSantis for testing for COVID-19 of inmates and staff in custody at present at no cost to them in another bid at slowing the spread of the virus through the area.
Florida’s legal community continued to react to extraordinary circumstances presented to it by the coronavirus last week. The week ended with an administrative order by the Florida Supreme Court to stop in-person legal proceedings in the state for two weeks, allowing courts to carry on with electronic proceedings whenever available.
The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.