Can I Face Charges for Disobeying Quarantine Orders for Coronavirus?

 Posted on March 24, 2020 in Criminal Law

Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense coronavirus quarantine order

Since January, the world has seen an exponential rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. As of March 23, there were nearly 335,000 confirmed cases reported around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). We still do not know everything that we need to know about COVID-19, a new virus that has emerged from the coronavirus family. What we do know is that most people are recovering from the virus, although individuals who have underlying health conditions or who are over the age of 65 have a higher mortality rate. 

One thing we do know is that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly through person-to-person contact. So far, the only effective way to stop the spread is to practice social distancing if you do not have the virus, quarantine yourself if you believe you may have come into contact with someone who does have the virus, and isolate yourself if you are confirmed to have the virus. In Illinois, if you are given specific quarantine orders, you must obey them, or you risk potential criminal charges.

Kentucky Man Is Forced to Isolate After Testing Positive for Coronavirus

Currently, there is no cure or treatment for COVID-19. While most are able to treat their symptoms until the infection has run its course, others face a risk of more serious issues stemming from a COVID-19 infection. This is why it is so crucial to stop the spread of the virus. Forced quarantine or isolation is not something that law enforcement agencies in the United States are accustomed to doing, but that is exactly what police officers are doing in Kentucky. In one case, a 53-year-old man tested positive for the virus, but checked himself out of the hospital, refusing isolation. Kentucky law enforcement officials sent officers to monitor the man’s home and make sure he did not leave. 

Illinois Quarantine Laws

Even though no such cases as the above have occurred in Illinois, the state does reserve the right to enforce quarantines if needed. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health Act, the State Department of Public Health (DPH), “has supreme authority in matters of quarantine and isolation.” This means the DPH has the power to order quarantines and isolations if the health of the public is at risk. This also means they have the right to enforce those quarantines and isolations.

If a person does not cooperate and comply with a quarantine or isolation order, they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. In Illinois, a conviction of a Class A misdemeanor can result in up to one year in prison, up to $2,500 in fines, or a combination of both.  

Contact an Arlington Heights, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Quarantine and isolation orders exist to protect the health and safety of everyone. If you have been ordered to stay home or shelter in place, you must follow that order, or you risk being charged with a criminal offense. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law can answer any questions that you have about criminal charges you may be facing. Call our skilled Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense lawyers today at 847-253-3400 to set up a free consultation.




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