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How NOT to Get Out of Attending Court – Faking Covid-19 Results

January 6, 2022 General

I often tell clients who are being investigated or prosecuted for crime that the only way out of it is through it.  Fundamental to processing and adjudicating criminal cases is a defendant’s commitment and legal obligation to appear and answering the charges in court. Our entire system of criminal justice hinges on public respect and compliance with the procedures and processes of law.

In fact, in every state it is a crime when a defendant does not appear in court when required. In Connecticut when a person is charged with a misdemeanor and that person willfully fails to appear when legally required, the person is guilty of a failure to appear in the second degree.  Failure to appear in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor which exposes a defendant to up to one year of incarceration if convicted.  If the defendant is charged with a felony offense, then the failure to appear is in the first degree, a class D felony with even greater exposure to incarceration.

Undeniably the COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the criminal justice system in Connecticut and every state.  However, this bedrock legal requirement, that the defendant appear in court as directed, has not changed.  Consider the case of the 31-year-old Hartford man who is now facing charges of failure to appear in the first degree as a result of his arrest earlier this week.  It is alleged that this 31-year-old Hartford man had altered electronic notification results from Trinity Health to make it appear as though he had tested positive for COVID-19 when he had not.

No one involved in the criminal justice system wants a criminal defendant to appear in court if that person is legitimately unwell or could cause further transmission of COVID-19.  However, manipulating medical documents to appear sick or subject to quarantine to avoid a court date is ill advised.  

Again, the only way out of it is through it. If you or someone you know is being investigated for a crime or facing prosecution in the state or federal courts of Connecticut or Massachusetts and could use help finding a way through it, contact Attorney Cody N. Guarnieri at (860) 996-8473 or today.