The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities throughout the United States. There is much debate as to what the role of government is when it comes to ensuring public safety versus maximizing individual freedoms. Many states, counties, and cities have implemented mandates regarding quarantining and mask usage.
These new mandates and regulations have brought about many questions and have resulted in confusion about what can happen if a person knowingly or unknowingly violates these laws. It can be difficult to differentiate between whether something is mandatory or a public health recommendation.
Can a person be arrested for violating a quarantine or not wearing a mask? Will a person face criminal charges if they do not socially distance? Is it a crime if you do not wear a mask in a private business that mandates them, even though the state does not?
The answers to many of these questions are murky. Some law firms have begun compiling information about criminal charges related to the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to help people understand the law.
If you’ve been accused of violating a city or state ordinance, or want to know more about your rights, you should reach out to a local criminal defense lawyer. A qualified lawyer can educate you about the nuances of the law in your area, and what the potential consequences are for violating a law. Usually, criminal charges are dependent on specific facts of the case, so there may be certain instances when a particular action results in criminal charges, and others where the same action does not. That’s why it is imperative that you consult with a lawyer if you do find yourself arrested or charged with a crime related to COVID-19. A criminal defense lawyer can review the circumstances of your case and identify potential defenses.
In times like these, uncertainty abounds. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world in many ways, but one of the farthest reaching may be how local and federal governments work to ensure public safety through ordinances and regulations.