Defense Attorneys for Stay at Home Order Violations in Maryland
If You’re Facing Charges for Leaving Home on “Non-Essential” Grounds, We’re Here to Help
Since the end of March, all of Maryland has been under a Stay at Home order courtesy of Governor Hogan. Unlike previous health and safety guidelines released to the state, this Executive Order is backed by legal enforcement. Its recommendations are consistent with previous executive orders because it is another extension of the state of emergency originally declared in mid-March.
The biggest change is that local and county law enforcement now have the power to enforce the order. Anyone found guilty of violating it may be charged with a misdemeanor. Its penalties include up to 1 year in jail and/or $5,000 in fines.
With the daily turmoil we are all facing, the last thing anyone needs to worry about is a potential misdemeanor charge on their record. Not to mention, the extensive fines and jail time are a high price to pay for one mistake. If you’ve been cited under the order, hire an experienced criminal defense team to fight for you in court.
Call our team at (301) 321-7277for help. We have 5 offices in Maryland, so we’re ready to serve you wherever you are.
What’s Allowed (and What’s Not) Under the Order
Like most other governments that have declared Stay at Home or Shelter in Place orders, Maryland’s is designed to protect the functioning of “essential services.” Employees can continue to report to their jobs if they are among those categorized as important for the basic functioning of our state, and consumers can go out so long as they are after fundamentals like food and medication.
During this order, you are allowed to:
- Shop for food, medication, and essential household goods
- Seek medical care
- Exercise outdoors and/or walk your dog—so long as you are observing social distancing rules
- Commute to and from work if you are employed by an essential business or work in a private home
- Perform the minimum necessary onsite operations for non-essential businesses
- Pick up takeout food and alcohol
- Provide care for a family member, child, senior, or person with a disability
If you have questions about what constitutes an essential business or activity, you can visit the governor’s website for more details.
For as long as the order is valid—an end date has not yet been set—Marylanders should avoid doing the following:
- Meeting up with anyone they do not live with, even in small groups
- Attending any events or meetups
- Attending non-essential appointments
- Shopping for any non-necessary items in person
- Attending a church, mosque, temple, or another place of worship
- Visiting any campground, beach, playground, picnic center, or park closed by the state
- Performing more than the minimum necessary operations at their non-essential business
Enforcement of the Stay at Home Order
While those out on errands are unlikely to be stopped just to verify the reason for their travel, police and state troopers may question someone’s reason for being on the road if they are pulled over for another violation. There is one exception to this standard: If any law enforcement officer spots a group of 10 or more people in public, they are authorized to issue citations to anyone in violation of the executive order.
Officials are recommending those who must leave the house for essential reasons carry documentation, though it is not a requirement under the law.
What to Do If You’re Cited
As with any other criminal allegation, you are allowed a defense attorney if you have been charged with violating the Stay at Home order. Though our courts are closed to the public, some legal proceedings are still being held. Don’t put off finding an attorney just because you think you don’t have to worry about anything until the Stay at Home order is lifted.
A citation alone won’t earn you any penalties, but if you are found guilty, you could receive:
- A misdemeanor on your record
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Up to $5,000 in fines
Waiting to get your defense started could be a costly mistake. Our team is providing free virtual consultations to anyone who has been charged for this reason. Reach out now to see how we can help you if you’ve been cited for violating Maryland’s Stay at Home Order.
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