The new coronavirus results in a very dangerous disease called COVID-19 — but many of us haven’t even begun to take it as seriously as we should. If case numbers continue to grow as expected over the next few weeks, Americans might start to see thousands of dead every single day by the end of April. That’s a scary pill to swallow for a country whose citizens are losing jobs and health insurance right when they need them the most.
Many people have already been arrested and charged with coronavirus-related crimes because they weren’t paying attention to the severity of the outbreak. One man recently waltzed into a local Wal-Mart, and then taped himself licking a variety of products while asking “Who’s afraid of the coronavirus?”
He was arrested and charged with making a terrorist threat.
That might sound absurd, but carriers of this virus don’t always know they have it. Many are asymptomatic the entire time, but that doesn’t mean they stop spreading it to others. Because the virus is so infectious and has a much higher fatality rate than the seasonal flu, we can expect a lot of fallout over the next few months. Cases like these will become more common.
The aforementioned man’s lawyer made a valid argument on his behalf: while it can easily be argued that the event represented an entirely immature antic, he licked those products before the CDC classified the virus as a global pandemic. That means case counts in the US were still very low, and the man probably didn’t realize what was happening yet.
Similar cases are likely already in the pipeline.
Have you been arrested and charged with a coronavirus-related crime? Whether or not you have been arrested already or simply suspect you will be, you should try to say as little as possible to the authorities. They want a soundbyte to make a court case that much easier, and your job is to avoid giving it to them.
You’ll want to find a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Indeed, lawyering up before you are arrested and charged is in your best interests. Write down as many details as you can regarding the events leading up to your arrest, and try to recall when you were read your Miranda rights. Where the law is concerned, the order of operations means a lot!
Right now, state and local governments are trying to set examples to keep other people from panicking or making ill-advised decisions during the outbreak. Do you believe that the charges you face are not proportional to your actions? Let us know.