Instructions – Motion for Continuance Page 1 of 2
Instructions for Using these “Motion for Continuance” and “Request for Virtual Trial”
What is a Motion for Continuance and Request for Virtual Trial?
A Motion for Continuance is a request to the court to move the date of the trial later because you
are currently infected with COVID-19 or are under quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19.
A Request for Virtual Trial is a request to the court to allow you to appear before the judge via
computer/smartphone (Zoom) or by dialing in via telephone. You may want to request a virtual
trial if you or someone you are close with is a member of an at-risk population or if you are an
essential worker.
NOTE: This document will become a public record. The fact that you have been diagnosed
with Covid-19 will be a public record.
How to complete these forms:
1) Fill in the cause number. You will get this number from the eviction papers the constable
gave you.
2) Fill in the plaintiff’s name. This is the landlord’s name.
3) Fill in the defendant’s name. This is your name.
4) Fill in the precinct and place numbers. You will get this information from the eviction
papers the constable gave you.
5) Repeat Steps 1-4 for the same spaces at the top of the “Order” on page 5.
6) Fill in your signature, date, name, address, and your email address and fax number (if you
have one) at the end of the “Motion” on page 4. If you are using a computer, you can type
your signature as "/s/ Your Name," ex: /s/ Jane Smith.
7) Fill in the “Notice of Hearing” blanks on page 4. Call the court to get a date and time for
the hearing on your Special Exceptions. If you can’t get an answer or the court doesn’t
give you a day and time, put your eviction trial date and time from the eviction papers the
constable gave you.
8) Fill in the “Certificate of Service” section on page 4. You are required to give a copy of
this paperwork to the landlord or whoever filed the eviction for the landlord (you can see
who filed the lawsuit for the landlord by looking at the “Petition” in the paperwork from
the constable). The options for the way to give the paperwork to the landlord are listed in
this section. This section tells the Judge how you gave the paperwork to the landlord.
9) You do not need to submit proof that you tested positive for COVID-19 with the motion,
but be sure to have a copy of your positive test available if the court requests it.
Next Steps - Filing these forms:
There are several options for filing your forms:
1) Efile using There are instructions on the website.
Instructions – Motion for Continuance Page 2 of 2
2) Fax the forms to the court. Check the paperwork from the constable, call the court, or
check the court’s website at (make sure you have the correct
3) Take them to the courthouse – either before your court date or to your trial. Be sure to
make a copy for yourself. If you have chosen to deliver the forms to the landlord in open
court, you need to have another copy.
4) Email them to the court. Find your court’s email address at (make
sure you have the correct court).
Call the court to make sure they received the documents.
After the trial:
1) If you lose, click here for information about appealing. The deadline to appeal is five (5)
days after the trial. If you wait too long, you cannot appeal.
2) If you win and you still owe rent, talk to your landlord about a payment plan or moving
out. Call 211 to find agencies offering rental assistance.
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CAUSE NO. ____________
Defendant in the above-entitled and numbered cause, file this Motion for Continuance
and Request for Virtual Trial. A continuance of the currently scheduled trial date is requested
because defendant recently tested positive for COVID-19, and defendant also requests a virtual
trial defendant.
1. Governor Abbott has declared a state of disaster in all 254 counties in the State of
Texas in response to the imminent threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. On _______________, 2020, defendant tested positive for Covid-19 and must
remain under quarantine for at least 14 days. The trial is currently scheduled to take place on
________________, 2020.
3. In view of the extraordinary circumstances of the current COVID-19 pandemic,
and pursuant to Paragraph 2(b) of the Texas Supreme Court emergency order dated March 13,
2020 (hereinafterFirst Emergency Order”) (renewed as of April 27, 2020 in the Twelfth Emery
Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster (hereinafterTwelfth Emergency Order”)), the
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State invokes its right to appear remotely in all proceedings in the above styled and numbered
cause for so long as the aforementioned emergency order remains in effect.
4. In pertinent part, this order provides as follows:
Subject only to constitutional limitations, all courts in Texas may in any case,
civil or criminaland must to avoid risk to court staff, parties, attorneys, jurors,
and the public . . . [a]llow or require anyone involved in any hearing,
deposition, or other proceeding of any kindincluding but not limited to a party,
attorney, witness, or court reporter, but not including a jurorto participate
remotely, such as by teleconferencing, videoconferencing, or other means . . . .
First Emergency Order, at 1 (emphasis added).
5. The order also explicitly calls upon the courts of this State to[t]ake any other
reasonable action to avoid exposing court proceedings to the threat of COVID-19.” Id. at 2.
6. Paragraph 4 of the Twelfth Emergency Order states “Courts must not conduct
in-person proceedings contrary to guidance issued by the Office of Court Administration
regarding social distancing, maximum group size, and other restrictions and precautions. Courts
should use all reasonable efforts to conduct proceedings remotely.” Twelfth Emergency Order at 2
(emphasis added).
7. The Office of Court Administration has issued guidance which includes
The following guidance is provided for all courts:
In-person proceedings of any size should be delayed until at
least June 1.
Essential proceedings should occur in-person only if holding
the proceeding remotely is not possible or feasible.
If essential proceedings must be held in-person, the court
should ensure that:
No more than 10 persons are gathered in the courtroom or in
areas around the courtroom (see EXCEPTION below);
Participants wear face coverings where possible; and
Participants in the courtroom are separated consistent with
social distancing and other precautions.
EXCEPTION: Essential proceedings may occur in-person in
excess of the 10-person maximum if the law requires more than
10 persons for the proceedings, such as grand jury
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deliberations. Participants should be separated consistent with
social distancing and should wear face coverings where
possible. (Note: Emergency Order 12 permits, but does not
require, grand jurors to meet remotely).
No non-essential proceedings should be held in-person.
With the introduction of the remote proceedings capability
through Zoom, most non-essential proceedings, except for jury
trials, can be conducted remotely, and there are no limitations
on those remote proceedings so long as reasonable notice and
access is provided to the participants and the public.
Office of Court Administration, “Court Operation Guidance, Issued 4/27/2020,” (last visited
April 29, 2020) (emphasis added).
8. Defendant is currently under quarantine until. Defendant cannot appear at for the
currently scheduled trial, nor can defendant predict whether the illness will allow the defendant
to be available remotely on the currently scheduled trial date.
9. Under present circumstances, the physical appearance of tenants in a Harris
County courtroom has now become unjustifiably dangerous to the health of the defendant, as
well as to the health of other individuals in the courtroom and, through potential spread of the
COVID-19 disease, the broader public. It is nearly impossible to maintain recommended social
distancing protocols in the close quarters and dense population of a Harris County Justice Court
10. Because the requisite risk of COVID-19 infection has now been established in
Harris County, the Court must allow the defendant to appear remotely in the above styled and
numbered cause for so long as the aforementioned emergency orders remain in effect.
11. For these reasons, defendant asks the Court to continue the trial for a date after
_____________________, 2020, and to allow the defendant to appear remotely by
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teleconferencing, videoconferencing, or other means, and for all such other and further relief as
to which defendant is justly entitled.
Respectfully submitted,
Signature Date
Printed Name Phone
Mailing Address City, State Zip
Email address (if available) Fax (if available)
The attached Defendant’s Motion has been filed and will be submitted to the Court for
consideration at a hearing on ___________________, 2020, at _______ A.M./P.M.
I certify that I delivered a copy of this document to each party in this case, or if a party is
represented by a lawyer to the party’s lawyer by: (Check one or more)
Hand delivery in open court
Hand delivery to
Email to
Regular mail to
Certified mail, return receipt requested to
Commercial delivery service (ex: FedEx) to
Fax to
Electronic service though the electronic filing manager.
Signature Date
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CAUSE NO. ____________
After considering the defendant’s Motion for Continuance and Request for Virtual Trial,
the response, the pleadings, and arguments of the parties, the Court GRANTS the motion.
The trial setting will be continued until___________________________________, 2020
at _______ AM/PM and the defendant will be allowed to attend the trial by:
SIGNED on ______________________, 2020.