A Law Student & Law Film Series: Part 7June 5, 2020
Interview with Malvika Jaganmohan, family law barrister and founder of Stiff Upper Lip WebsiteJune 7, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many of us to radically alter our lives in order to try and slow the spread of the virus. That means we all have to take great care not to get infected and not to infect others; that is why we are advised and encouraged to wear masks, practice social distancing, thoroughly wash our hands, and use hand sanitizer when necessary. Most people comply with these guidelines but there are some who oppose them for various reasons, one of which is that the procedures have unfortunately become extremely politicized.
But what if someone does not only refuse to follow the recommended guidelines but actually tries to spread the coronavirus? While such an act is reprehensible to most, it is something that the law has to address even though the intentional spread of a disease is an unusual thing to prosecute. If you find yourself involved in such a case, then you will definitely need an attorney to help you since it is likely to get very complicated. If you live in California, then you can contact bajajdefense.com to get the advice and guidance you need.
The Legal Consequences of Spreading Covid-19
On a national level, the US Department of Justice has announced that anyone who intentionally spreads Covid-19 can be charged with terrorism for the “purposeful exposure and infection of others”. This is not an empty threat as there is already an incident where an 18 year old woman in San Antonio, Texas was arrested after claiming on social media that she was intentionally spreading Covid-19. The young woman was charged with making a terroristic threat, which is a third degree felony.
On a local level criminal prosecutors in many states have said that anyone who knowingly infects another person with the coronavirus could be charged with criminal battery. That charge applies if someone tests positive for Covid-19 and tries to deliberately infect their intimate partner or someone else, if they force their partner to leave home so that they get sick, or if they prevent their intimate partner from getting treatment for Covid-19. In all of those cases, the person trying to spread or prevent the treatment of Covid-19 could be charged with criminal battery or domestic abuse.
Criminal Charges Associated With the Spread of the Coronavirus
In general, there are no specific charges associated with trying to spread the coronavirus, which is why different states have their own rules regarding this act. There was a situation in Illinois where a man who had Covid-19 symptoms was charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct because he ignored the medical advice that he should self-isolate. The State Attorney’s office in Florida has issued a zero tolerance policy when it comes to coronavirus related threats to first responders. Anyone who intentionally tries to infect a first responder or law enforcement officer can be charged with aggravated assault or aggravated battery, which are both felony charges. In cases where a child might be at risk of contracting the virus, the adult in charge of the child can be charged with child endangerment.
Talk to a Lawyer About Covid-19 Criminal Charges
It might seem like it has been around forever but Covid-19 is still a new virus and so are the various guidelines and rules involved with it. That means the law is still coming to grips with how to address it, which means that if you were charged with a coronavirus related charge, you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorneys stay up to date on changes and adjustments to the law and will be able to formulate a defense that can get the charges reduced or even dismissed. So be sure to talk to a lawyer if you have been charged with a Covid-19 related offense.