Can You Be Arrested for Breaking Coronavirus or COVID-19 Quarantine or Curfew in Florida?
COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Broward County, with nearly 3,000 cases between Broward County and Miami-Dade County as of March 30. The rules for self isolation and quarantine are no joke - in fact, breaking a quarantine in Florida could result in an arrest.
With coronavirus rapidly spreading, Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beaches are saw closures and nearly 5,500 people in Florida have confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, according to NBC 6 South Florida Monday afternoon (March 30). In Florida, 63 people have died so far. South Florida has become the epicenter of the coronavirus in the state of Florida.
To help aid the ever-growing crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, more than 170 Florida National Guard medics were activated in Broward County.
Monday, March 30, Gov. Ron DeSantis Said he expects a near-lockdown in South Florida to last until mid-May, according to NBC 6 South Florida.
Risk of Arrest for Breaking Quarantine or Curfew in Florida
Arrests are very much in question for those who don’t self-quarantine, according to local law enforcement.
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw announced Friday that his office will arrest people who do violate quarantine orders. He warned that for people with an order of confinement from the Florida Department of Health, his office is prepared to enforce the confinement orders if people take them too casually, according to Boca News Now.
There will be trouble for those breaking other rules in place during this time, as well.
Starting Friday, March 27, Miami issued a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in hopes of helping to curb the spread of coronavirus, according to the Miami Herald. "Police would have the ability to stop, question and arrest anyone out in public during this time period," according to the article.
Miami's City Manager, Art Noriega, said the police department will be enforcing the curfew rules nightly. This rule will not apply to the city's homeless population. While the idea isn't for police to just throw people into jail, Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said they will be enforcing the curfew.
Consequences for Knowingly Spreading Coronavirus in Florida?
Similarly, people who knowingly spread Coronavirus and put others at risk of contracting COVID-19 may soon face legal trouble.
A traveler who boarded a JetBlue flight to Palm Beach March 11 boarded the flight without notifying anyone of his pending coronavirus test, according to Sun Sentinel.
Bradshaw and other prosecutors confirmed to Sun Sentinel that they’re looking into charging people who knowingly expose others to 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said the Florida Legislature may get involved to address situations such as these.
Besides arrests, other consequences are also imminent and already taking place for those who don’t abide by the isolation and quarantine rules in Florida.
For example, the 70-something man who boarded the flight is now banned from flying on JetBlue in the future.
Consequences of Breaking a Coronavirus or COVID-19 Quarantine
While laws vary by state, people who ignore the rules could face fines or jail time according to The New York Times. Arrests could be slightly questionable, as reasonable law enforcement officials should not seek to put others’ health at risk by placing someone with a deadly communicable disease into custody.
“An infected person blatantly ignoring an order might be forced to go into medical isolation — that is, some form of locked hospital ward,” NYT reports.
Rossen Law Firm certainly wishes everyone here in South Florida health as we weather this pandemic together. We’re practicing social distancing and remote work as much as possible in our own office.
The Rossen Law Firm Team
Curious about what could happen if someone intentionally spreads coronavirus or COVID-19? Check out our blog: "Coronavirus Crimes: COVID-19 spread intentionally could land you behind bars or in a lawsuit in Florida" to learn more.
If you, or anyone you know, needs a criminal or DUI defense attorney you can trust, reach out today to learn about our free strategy sessions. In our sessions, we outline how we’ll fight your case to protect you and your rights.
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