Can I go to Jail for Ignoring a Quarantine in Texas?
Thus far, Texas has encouraged individual action, rather than government intervention, to prevent the spread of the corona virus, suggesting measures such as washing your hands, covering your sneezes and coughs, and staying home if you feel symptomatic or ill. You know, the kind of hygiene we should be using everyday.
Government and health officials, however, are preparing for the possibility of an outbreak and if you were too disregard a quarantine you can most definitely expect to be arrested.
In fact, ignoring a Texas quarantine can bring some stiff criminal penalties.
1. Under Texas Health and Safety Code Section 81.085 it is a third degree felony for failing to abide by a quarantine order with a punishment range of two to ten years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine (same punishment range as kidnapping).
2. Under Texas Health & Safety Code Section 81.068, refusing to allow health officials or police officers to enter or inspect a property for possible infection is a Class A misdemeanor punishable up to one year in county jail and/or up to a $4,000 fine (same punishment range as domestic assault).
3. Under Texas Health & Safety Code Section 81.066, knowingly concealing exposure to a communicable disease during an investigation by state or local health officials can be punished by up to 180 days in jail and/or a $2000 fine (same punishment range as driving while intoxicated).The hope for all is that this pandemic subsides and this article was a waste of time to write. In the meantime, though it doesn’t hurt to know disregarding an order to protect Houstonians and Texans can result in an arrest and costly penalties.
Texas officials have seen and expect to see more burglary and family violence cases throughout this pandemic. This of course makes sense given that not only are people losing their jobs and source of incomes, but are cooped up inside with nowhere to go. Stress is running high. Stay safe.