Yes, Massachusetts courts have reopened for DUI trials and other criminal matters. You will also be able to engage with the District Court related to your DUI case for all pre-trial matters including pleas, admissions, hearings, and appeals. With that said, not all proceedings are being handled in person.
Are DUI Trials and Hearings Being Held In Person?
As of June 2021, the court operating status still prioritizes in-person operations for all matters that can be handled more efficiently with physical attendance as well as matters that, for logistical or constitutional reasons, cannot be handled in a virtual fashion. In-person DUI trials are currently underway in Massachusetts courts.
All matters that can be handled effectively in a virtual fashion are still being conducted via digital communication.
Are Jury Trials Happening In Person?
As of June 2021, yes, standard 6-person (District Court) and 12-person (Superior Court) jury trials have resumed in-person trial attendance for cases of OUI / DUI in Massachusetts (authorized May 1, 2021). It is possible that jurors may be excused from duty due to circumstances related to COVID-19, which could impact the progress of your DUI trial, but will not prevent the court from taking the case.
How Is COVID-19 Affecting DUI Trials & the Court?
All criminal matters are being heard, either virtually or in person. Courts have resumed full or near-full staffing (in accordance with safety guidelines). Here are a few updates on the court system’s other COVID-19-related policies as of June 15, 2021:
- Masks are still mandatory in certain spaces in Massachusetts, including DUI trials held in Massachusetts court. Here is a list of required spaces as of May 29, 2021. You must wear a mask at all times in the courthouse and observe social distancing. There may be exceptions for health reasons permitted by the court’s ADA coordinator.
- The number of people in a courthouse may be limited to make social distancing possible.
- Each visit begins with a health screening when you arrive, including a short series of health screening questions and a temperature reading (with a contactless thermometer).
The court also encourages all individuals to self-screen before attending court in person. This is the self-screening checklist provided by Massachusetts courts for COVID-19. If your health is in line with the requirements, you may attend all in-person proceedings and conduct in-person business with clerks, registers, recorders, probation officers, and all other offices at the courthouse that are open to the public.
Should you have any further questions about DUI trials in Massachusetts during the stat’s COVID-19 response, you may call or email the court at the Trial Court Help Line between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM at 833-91-COURT. The court has Spanish and Portuguese interpreters available as needed.
You can also feel free to contact your OUI / DUI attorney in Massachusetts for up-to-the-day updates on requirements and protocols for your specific DUI trial.