Quality Criminal Defense When It Counts

Preparing For Virtual Court

GOLDEN, CO – AUGUST 14: The Honorable District Court Judge Diego Hunt, left, conducts a virtual criminal motions hearing at Jefferson County Administration and Courts in Golden on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (Photo by Rachel Ellis/The Denver Post)

Most Colorado Courts are offering virtual or online hearings for short events, continuances, and even some agreed upon pleas and sentences. See my recent interview for the Denver Post. If you have a case where you are going to appear either online or on the phone you should follow these steps to get ready:

  1. Download the software or get the call-in number. Do not wait until the morning of court to find the instructions. Ask your attorney to give you the information so you know when to log-in or call in. Most Colorado courts are using Webex, which may require you to download software to your computer or phone and you will need time to do this before your scheduled court date.
  2. Remember it is still court and your appearance and your demeanor are important. If you are on camera – dress the same as if you were attending court in person and pay attention to what might be in the background and remove anything you do not wish to be seen. Do not interrupt anyone, wait until your case is called, and always be respectful.
  3. Ask your attorney questions – but not during court. Due to the nature of the virtual courtroom, you likely won’t be with your attorney and will not be able to have a private conversation. You should talk to your attorney about the proceedings before the court appearance and then follow up afterwards to ensure you know the next steps in your case. In some cases you can arrange to be able to text your attorney while you are both logged into the court system.
  4. Log in early. If you are appearing by phone or by camera you should log in about 5 minutes before your scheduled appearance to ensure everything is working properly. If you are having problems you can contact your attorney so they can inform the court you are having technical difficulties and will join as soon as you are able.
  5. MUTE! AND TURN OFF CAMERA! While you are waiting for your case to be called make sure you are on mute. Once your case is called, remember that you will need to unmute yourself. It is better if it takes a minute for you to remember to unmute your audio and camera rather than having the entire courtroom listening in on your unrelated conversation or seeing you stand up and leave.
  6. Be safe! If courtrooms are offering a virtual appearance, it is generally a better alternative than heading to the courthouse and unnecessarily being exposed to more people during COVID-19 – especially if you just are getting a continuance or a new court date.