The pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives – including how we defend ourselves in court. Zoom court is now in session. However, is it worth trying, or are you better off in person?
Here are 5 advantages to opting for a Zoom court hearing and a couple of things to be wary of.
Courtrooms can be intimidating enough when you’re faced with the stakes of winning or losing your case and the consequences thereof. The mere presence of a judge and a prosecutor is nerve-wracking enough. If you’re also in a room full of other people waiting for their cases to be heard, it’s easy to feel embarrassed or criticized.
While Zoom court can be watched online, a person who wishes to observe a court in session first has to find it. Odds are that most people aren’t going to spend their time looking for your Zoom court hearing.
Disadvantage: Confidentiality Breach
Zoom court is great, but it’s not perfect. In April 2020, 500,000 Zoom accounts got hacked and passwords were posted on dark web crime forums. While security on Zoom is improving, it’s not perfect. Sites like YouTube are supposed to display warnings that court hearings are prohibited from being recorded by the public. However, there’s no real way of knowing whether or not your Zoom trial is being recorded by another device.
Advantage: Zoom Court From Home
You don’t have to worry about driving to the courthouse, paying for parking, and sitting in a room until your case is finally called. You can attend Zoom court from the convenience of your living room. Just make sure you clean up first and dress as if you’re attending court in person.
Disadvantage: Technological Hiccups
The most popular phrase in 2020 was probably “you’re on mute.” However, our Zoom difficulties aren’t limited to audio. A poor Wi-Fi connection, low bandwidth, and other courtroom detractions can delay a Zoom court hearing and inhibit your chances of getting a fair court proceeding.
Advantage: Increased Credibility
In some ways, not being in court in person can actually increase witness credibility. On a Zoom call, witnesses make prolonged eye contact and are deemed easier to read by some judges. Sometimes, this makes it easier for judges to determine if they believe a testimony. Also, without others physically present in the courtroom, both the witnesses and the judge are usually less distracted.
Disadvantage: Potential for Distraction
Witnesses and judges are usually less distracted in Zoom court, but that’s not always the case. Not all of us have the luxury of having complete at-home privacy or designated office space for Zoom meetings. Children may have unexpected needs. Our home lives are not always predictable. An ill-timed distraction could hurt your case.
Advantage: Increased Representation
You can hire a lawyer anywhere in the state to represent you. If you like a firm that’s elsewhere in your state, you can hire them to fight your traffic tickets. Also, if a friend or co-worker recommends a lawyer, but they don’t live in your county, they can still represent you thanks to Zoom court. Virtual courtroom hearings give wider access to potential lawyers than we’ve ever had before.
Disadvantage: More Lawyers to Choose From
While having more lawyers to choose from is great, if you’re an avid researcher, you now have more prospects to research. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless you’re determined to find the absolute best lawyer for you. If that’s what you’re looking for, we suggest that don’t overthink it and give us a call.