Updates on the Courts and Coronavirus

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On December 22, 2020

Each courthouse responded to COVID-19 differently. Some started coordinating virtual hearings rather quickly, to ensure matters continued moving forward. Some closed altogether, creating a substantial back log of cases, and are just beginning to re-open. A lot of courts changed their policies, sometimes daily, and courthouse websites haven’t always kept up with the changes.

Helping our clients stay informed about their case and the court procedures does more than just create peace of mind. Understanding the process, every step of the way, empowers our clients, contributing to their overall success. That’s why Reynolds Defense Firm has stayed on top of court and DMV changes for the last nine months, and we will continue to do so. To gather some of the latest updates, we spoke to RDF’s very own Senior Associate, Kami White, to learn a little more about where the courts are now.


Are most courts open and fully operational again?

Most courts are fully functioning, and some are in “new” locations. Washington County Circuit Court has moved to the Wingspan Event and Conference Center (WECC), with plans to return to the original courthouse location in January. Marion County Circuit Court has split their dockets, limiting certain areas of the courthouse to specific hearings.  trials are moving slowly, but most courts are proceedings with most types of cases.


Are courts all virtual now? If they are not, are they being more lenient towards requests for virtual appearances if clients need them?

Most courts have at least some mechanism and allowances for telephonic appearances.  Officially, they encourage remote appearances, but we are required to file written requests, so it’s not as easy as it should be.


Are arraignment dates still being set months out?

Arraignments appear to mostly be happening in regular course.  Even in Multnomah County which had the greatest delay, initially.


Are people still being cited in lieu of an arrest, for health concerns, or does it seem like arrests are happening more and more?

Most people are still being released rather than going through the booking process, from what I can see.


Is the DMV Office of Administrative Hearings (“OAH”) holding hearings?

As of December, the OAH has begun resetting in-person hearings. They were NOT holding in-person hearings due to the Governor’s Orders from March directing executive offices to close to the public and offer telephonic services as much as possible. They have continued to offer telephonic hearings.


If DMV hearings have been delayed, has the 30-day driving privilege been extended for people?

Yes, when we have requested in-person hearings, our clients have been able to retain their driving privileges until that request can be met.


Is there any delay in receiving DMV orders/rulings?

Have not noticed a delay in ruling for hearings which have been held.


The Temporary Rules Notice from earlier in the year, that granted extensions on Diversion requirements, is that still in effect? What is the courts position on completing treatment and other Diversion/Probation requirements?

The deadlines related to diversion (both the 30 day deadline to enter, and the deadline to file for extensions to complete requirements) appear to have vanished and the Courts have discretion regarding extension requests.


Are treatment centers back to normal and functional?

To my knowledge, based on client feedback and the few treatment centers I’ve contacted, personally, all treatment is being done virtually now.


If you need help with a DUI arrest or assistance with other related criminal charges, please call Reynolds Defense Firm today, at 503-223-3422. You may also chat with us live 24/7, or contact us by using the online form for your free initial consultation. Our team of DUI lawyers has over 80 years of combined experience and we look forward to every opportunity to help answer your questions and figure out what the best steps are for you and your family.


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