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Know Your Rights: COVID-19 and Legal Deadlines (FAQs)

Authored By: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (New Orleans office) LSC Funded

FAQ

Are Louisiana court deadlines (other than federal court) extended? +

All Louisiana state court deadlines have been extended to June 5th, 2020, except for initial criminal appearances, some emergency matters, or if the proceeding can be conducted without an in person appearance.

 

Some of the emergency matters are listed at on the Louisiana Supreme Court's website. Others can be added by the local court. The Louisiana state courts are closed for new cases other than emergencies and cases that can be filed remotely (by fax or electronically).
 
These extensions apply without asking the court for an extension. The court will contact you or your attorney if you get scheduled to do something remotely before June 5th.
 

What happens when that extension ends? +

You may need to file paperwork or file for an extension immediately once the Governor’s order declaring a State of Emergency expires. This includes all courts at the local and state level. Check this website again just ahead of May 4th to see if there is a further extension or if there are specific instructions about filings that have been delayed.

What if I have an emergency that needs a court order? +

All major courts should be accessible in at least a limited way for emergencies. Emergencies include things like issuing domestic violence protective orders, stopping evictions that a court has not authorized, and stopping certain other illegal actions that cause immediate harm. If you think you have an emergency and cannot get access to the court, you should try to get legal help. 

Are Federal Court deadlines extended? +

Most federal legal deadlines remain in place, except around Baton Rouge in the federal “Middle District of Louisiana”. Louisiana federal court deadlines are not necessarily extended, though federal courts are closed for most purposes.

 

Please check the website of the applicable court for more information:
 

How will I find the new deadlines and procedures when the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ends? +

Please come back to this website shortly before June 5th. It may provide more information then. For cases already in court, the court will notify you, though it may be by mail rather than by Sheriff or Constable service.
 

Are contract deadlines extended? +

Contract deadlines are not necessarily extended. However, tenants cannot be evicted until after May 4th. But tenants do owe rent and could owe late fees if they do not pay rent on time. If tenants do not pay these, they could be evicted right after deadlines restart, if the landlord follows correct procedures. Please see the Tenant’s Rights during COVID-19 Page for more information.
 

Deadlines for Louisiana State and Local Agencies +

Deadlines for all Louisiana State and local agencies, including for appeals, have been suspended through June 5th, 2020 or later. Return to this site shortly before then for any update.
 

Will my utilities be shut off? +

Most gas, electricity, phone, and water utilities should not be shut off. The Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) has suspended utility cutoffs during this emergency. But its rule does not affect cut-offs by utilities run by cities, parishes or non-profits, particularly local water systems. If your utilities are owned locally, you should check with the utility for more information. Some local governments are also suspending cut-offs - including the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge. In most cases, payments will be due once the emergency is over. You should continue to pay your bills during the emergency, if you can. Utilities can still be shut off for public safety reasons, such as a gas leak.
 

What if my driver’s license or license plate is expiring? +

Many deadlines and expiration dates for the Office of Motor Vehicles have been extended. Please see this notice from the Office of Motor Vehicles website for more information.
 

How can I get legal help? +

Acadiana Legal Service Corporation and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services provide free legal assistance to those that qualify - typically at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty GuidelinesPlease do not visit legal service providers in person during this time. Due to the virus, all organizations are encouraging people to contact them over the telephone, or by applying for services online.

 

SLLS has a COVID-19 Hotline you can access by calling 844-244-7871.

 

If you don't qualify for free legal services, you may qualify for the Modest Means Directory. You may also be able to submit a question and get legal advice online through the Louisiana Free Legal Answers program.

 

If your income is still too high for the Modest Means Directory or Louisiana Free Legal Answers, you'll need to find a private attorney through the Louisiana State Bar Association. 

Last Review and Update: Mar 30, 2020
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