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What Happens if You Host a Gathering While in Quarantine?

Along with the serious health risks associated with coronavirus, Americans are burdened by quarantine orders and similar directives that forbid them from seeing their loved ones, even for major events such as holidays and birthdays. It can be tempting to try to break the rules, especially for people who believe that they don’t fall into the one of the common risk groups. News reports have documented spring breakers, shoppers and churchgoers who have ignored the CDC guidelines and admonitions from healthcare experts and orders executed by most states to “stay at home” except to buy food or medicine. That behavior has led many governors to issue a range of penalties for those who violate executive orders.

Although the medical consensus is practically unanimous regarding the need to avoid coming into contact with others, the legal ramifications of violating a stay-at-home order or a similar government provision are more varied. If you are concerned about potential punishment for hosting a gathering at your home, understanding these legal standards might be useful:

  • State law controls — As we’ve seen, quarantine is a police power that is reserved to the states.  Though the federal government can take measures to stop international and interstate travel, most of the actual rule-making and enforcement is left to state authorities. In a culture dominated by national media, this ability for each state to formulate its own solution can cause confusion.
  • Civil sanctions Local health authorities in many states have the ability to isolate and even detain people who pose a risk to their community. Sometimes, there is a limit on how long an infected person can be held. Massachusetts has a rule stating that if someone is unable to work because they were prohibited from leaving home by their board of health, they are entitled to three-quarters of the compensation they lost. This is a very old law though, and the payment is capped at $2 for each working day.
  • Criminal penalties Numerous states make violating a quarantine or similar charges a misdemeanor crime. Given the lethal nature of COVID-19, prosecutors might also allege another type of offense that fits the circumstances. In New Jersey, a married couple who hosted a party in front of their home after the state’s order banning social gatherings was issued was charged with five counts of child endangerment.

There is never a good time to get arrested and face prosecution, but with serious concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in detention facilities, your health could depend on avoiding incarceration. An accomplished criminal defense lawyer can safeguard your fundamental rights whether you’re facing legal problems linked to a quarantine violation or another type of alleged offense.

Contact a criminal defense lawyer to learn about your rights

Tylden Shaeffer, Attorney at Law, P.C. advocates on behalf of clients who have been accused of criminal offenses. For a consultation regarding your case, please contact the firm online.

Testimonials
  • "Mr Shaeffer was up front from the beginning, and I respected that. He told me they have a solid case against me. He is a very out of the box thinker, and very organized. He told me the sad reality of" - Nicoli

  • "I found Mr. Shaeffer to be very responsive, effective, and strategic. There was never any doubt in my mind that he had my best interest at the forefront of his efforts in handling my case." - Ron

  • "When you have been wrongfully accused of having an affair with a student, you must acquire legal counsel before you even speak to the police, even if you are the person who reports the rumors. Tylden Schaeffer advised me to not have a second interview with the police department and found time in his schedule to meet with me that day. After the meeting, I had a path to move forward on and that included a well written statement that Mr. Schaeffer crafted. After submitting this in lieu of a second interview with the police, there were no more problems with the school district or police department. Mr. Schaeffer did a superb job and had me resting more easily following our meetings. I would highly recommend Mr. Schaeffer to anyone in need of a Criminal Defense Attorney." - Anonymous

  • "Tylden has been nothing but excellent while representing me. He’s been very upfront, honest, and cooperative with not only myself, but with my family as well. I don’t just feel like a number, he treats you like if you’re his only client. I’d definitely recommend him to anybody I know if they are in need of legal help. 5 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend Tylden Shaeffer!" - Joel

  • "Mr Shaeffer was up front from the beginning, and I respected that. He told me they have a solid case against me. He is a very out of the box thinker, and very organized. He told me the sad reality of what could potentially be the outcome of my case, and it was dim. However he asked me what i wanted and was creative enough to deliver at an extremely affordable price. He has the knowledge to defend you, and the experience to win. I’m very happy with how he handled my case. His office is also only blocks away from the court house and he is always prompt. I don’t usually write reviews, but Mr. Tylden Shaeffer deserves to be recognized." - Nicoli

  • "When I got charged with my DWI I already expected to go through a long, painful process from the beginning. But, Mr. Shaeffer and his staff made my whole experience quick and easy with their great communication and professionalism. He was always straight forward and I could tell he had my best interest in mind. He made sure I didn’t get charged with “extreme intoxication”, while also reducing my fines and the length of my probation. I highly recommend him to anyone!" - Alex

  • "Mr. Shaeffer is a great attorney , very professional, very nice and is willing to work with you and help u threw any situation u may have or need help with . I recommend Mr. Shaeffer to anyone who needs help with any kind of legal issues or problems. Anyone who has asked me about an attorney i most definitely tell them Mr. Shaeffer and give them his info. Thank you for all your help and everything u have done for me and my family. You are a awesome attorney! Highly Recommend" - Anonymous

  • "Tylden is a fantastic attorney. He thoroughly prepared for my case and did an amazing job of relating to the judge and jury. I highly recommend Tylden. Would recommend to anyone!" - Skyler

  • "Tylden got my felony reduced to a misdemeanor. He saved my life. I didn’t have to pester him for information and updates about my case and his staff is well informed and helpful. He personally attended each and every one of my hearings and was just as concerned about restoring my reputation as I was. He recently got a motion for non-disclosure filed and approved by the judge so I will never have to admit this mistake ever happened. I would recommend Tylden to anyone! He is a highly intelligent and competent attorney. The Best!" - Anonymous

  • "I was represented by Mr. Shaeffer years ago (2004). He would travel from San Antonio all the way to Del Rio to represent me. My father and I were accused of wrong doing by federal agents and we had done nothing. We, my father and I were on trial simultaneously. We had hired an attorney and found out later he was friends with the prosecutor and wanted us to accept a plea bargain. “We did nothing wrong”, I cried to him. He insisted that we accept due to it being impossible to beat the Government. My father and I were close to giving up when we met Mr. Shaeffer. Mr. Shaeffer believed in us and fought for us. Because of him, I never saw prison walls nor was I ever away from my family. It was one of the most difficult times in my life, but thankfully we met a Godsend attorney and justice prevailed." - Anonymous

Case Results
Intoxication Manslaughter – Reduced Sentence

While client was already on probation for DWI when arrested for Intoxication Manslaughter. Client pleaded guilty to the jury and jury awarded probation where State sought prison term from the jury.

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